An unsecured M-4-style rifle that was found inside an unlocked Texas National Guard truck Monday, June 27, 2022. Photo courtesy of Marianna Wright.
When a Texas woman found an unsecured M4-style rifle inside an unlocked Texas National Guard truck Monday, June 27, she took matters into her own hands by, well, taking the weapon into her own hands.
“Today, I got my hands on a fully automatic weapon thanks to the stupid, irresponsible #TexasNationalGuard #OperationLonestar who left their vehicle running & unlocked with guns inside on the side of the road,” Marianna Wright tweeted Monday. Operation Lone Star is the long-term deployment of Texas National Guard troops to the US-Mexico border within the state. “Guess the truck could’ve been mine, too. #PublicSafety, #Texas Style.”
In a series of three tweets Monday, Wright chronicled finding what she described as a pickup truck used by the Texas National Guard left unattended and unlocked. She posted a picture of the front seat with what appears to be an M4-style rifle unsecured between the front seats.
Wright is the executive director of the National Butterfly Center, a 200-acre wildlife preserve in Mission, Texas, near McAllen whose property backs directly to the US-Mexico border. Wright told Coffee or Die Magazine Tuesday in an interview that Border Patrol and Texas National Guard commonly cross the center’s property without permission and appeared to be doing so Monday when she found the rifle.
The center’s trails, she said, are popular with civilians. Several bikers and joggers passed the truck as she waited for officials to arrive.
The unsecured rifle, Wright said, was in plain sight inside a blue truck with Oregon license plates, similar to rental vehicles commonly used by Guard members in McAllen. It also held both a military rucksack and life vests commonly issued to Guardsmen.
The truck, she said, was running and unlocked.
“All of this was documented in real time to a federal law enforcement agent.” Wright told Coffee or Die. “There was life vests and a rucksack. I did not pilfer or rummage, I just turned the vehicle off and secured the weapon as I communicated in real time with the Border Patrol” via text and pictures, she said.
Matt White is a former senior editor for Coffee or Die Magazine. He was a pararescueman in the Air Force and the Alaska Air National Guard for eight years and has more than a decade of experience in daily and magazine journalism.
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