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Melissa del Bosque, Type Investigations, Dec. 17, 2021
"It was early November when Marianna Treviño Wright saw a convoy of National Guard members in Humvees speed past the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas. Shortly thereafter, Treviño Wright, the center’s director, began to see soldiers with assault rifles patrolling nearby and along the banks of the Rio Grande. A wildlife camera at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas recorded National Guard members on the refuge’s property several times. “They have this aggressive posture with the rifles across their chests,” Treviño Wright said. “We cruise the river four or five times a week on our boat and have not seen anything that would indicate an increase in [migrant] traffic or any sort of increased threat. … So the question is, What are they doing here?” On Monday, a wildlife camera recorded three armed soldiers on a private road inside the butterfly center, which alarmed Treviño Wright and other employees. The privately owned nonprofit nature preserve hosts several thousand schoolchildren and visitors every year to experience the flora and fauna, which includes several hundred species of butterflies. ... Allowing soldiers to patrol with assault rifles is the latest escalation in an ongoing border campaign by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called Operation Lone Star. Since March, Abbott has deployed more than 10,000 state police officers and soldiers to the Texas border. He has also welcomed soldiers and police from at least 10 other Republican-led states. ... Treviño Wright said the butterfly center, which is in Hidalgo County, has not signed an agreement allowing soldiers or DPS officers to patrol the center’s land. After discovering that someone had cut through the center’s barbed wire fence, Treviño Wright placed wildlife cameras at the location. Soon after, the center recorded footage of a soldier with a rifle appearing to examine the spot where Treviño Wright said the fence had been cut. Since then, she’s recorded footage of soldiers at the center several times, despite the “No Trespassing” signs posted."