DPS troopers most recently stopped him on July 7 while he was driving his neighbor, who has some dementia, around town in the pickup. He recorded the encounter.
The trooper, who was with a trainee, told Lozano his license plate number was registered to a Lincoln model car, video shows. Lozano told the trooper he could verify the plate on his truck with his registration, which he handed to the trooper. But the officer never opened it.
Later in the hourlong stop, it became clear the trooper had substituted a G for a 6 while checking Lozano’s plate number.
“People make mistakes,” the trooper says in Lozano’s video. Lozano maintained the trooper did so intentionally to stop him and could have cleared things up sooner by reading his registration.
“Things are changed in a way [so that] you can’t go out and enjoy yourself,” Lozano told NBC News. “It’s like a communist country. You get stopped and it’s, ‘What are you doing out here? Where are you going?’”
A Brackettville retiree who did not want her name used because she did not feel safe sharing her views said DPS has stopped her and her husband eight times, making her anxious when she sees DPS vehicles and exceedingly cautious while driving.
“I am very aware that because my husband and I are white and in our 60s, we don’t fit the profile of people likely to be involved in smuggling. I feel like probably what we experience is worse for other residents here,” she said.
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However, Juan Enrique Hernández, 52, of Del Rio, said he’s had no problem with DPS. He was stopped for a problem with his light and was given a warning. He said he prefers the DPS rather than the military in the area.
Fernando, who only wanted to be identified by his first name because “it’s a very, very small town,” said he was pulled over a few weeks ago over a nonworking brake light. He was made to get out of his truck and to sit in a DPS vehicle. The trooper wrote him a $180 ticket for not wearing a seat belt. Fernando said he’d unbuckled after he was pulled over.
He said he sees the “damage” migrants do on ranches where he works, so he supports the mission of controlling illegal immigration, he said. But he also said Hispanics seem to be targeted in vehicle stops.
At a Texas Senate committee hearing on Aug. 10 in nearby Eagle Pass, about 46 miles south of Brackettville, several ranchers and local officials who were called on to testify said they were grateful for the DPS presence, and some asked for more permanent forces.
Ruben Garibay, who runs an organic farm in neighboring Maverick County, testified that the greater DPS presence and fencing erected by Abbott has slowed the flow of people traversing his farm.
Others testified they had found bodies of people who crossed the border on their land. Others attested to hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages to fences that require hours of time to fix; of thefts and break-ins at hunting cabins and their houses, with some incursions happening while they and their families were home.