WESLACO, Texas — The most wide open area along the Texas border may soon get a boost in law enforcement presence as well as technology, said Texas Governor Greg Abbott. The border city of Laredo and its surrounding areas has a long history of being used for drug and human smuggling by the Los Zetas cartel. A lack of a border fence and populated areas just yards from the Rio Grande have led to detentions of illegal immigrants and drug smugglers around city streets Breitbart Texas previously published.
Breitbart Texas had an opportunity to speak with Governor Abbott after he completed a tour of the the Texas border Friday morning. During a question and answer portion of the Governor’s visit, Breitbart Texas asked him about the current border surge where the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard are deployed along the Rio Grande Valley Sector to help secure the border. Breitbart Texas also asked if Texas will be expanding the surge operation to the Laredo Sector.
“You can be expecting that and the reality is that we have already begun,” Abbott responded. “The reality is that cartels are very sophisticated, and they understand that when we lock down a particular sector or region they can move their resources to another sector or region. We understand the necessity of increasing resources along any region that cartels begin to exploit. DPS works strategically to ensure that we secure all sectors that are insecure or pose a threat.”
Governor Abbott has proposed a massive increase in border security spending to the Texas Legislature. The spending increase proposed during his State of the State Address in February would double the amount of money Texans are spending on defending the border.
After a DPS report was leaked by the Houston Chronicle, Breitbart Texas’ Bob Price reported on specific budget requests from the DPS to the Legislature for funding for advanced technology surveillance for the border region. The DPS wants to add an additional 4,000 cameras to expand Operation Drawbridge. This will build an “impenetrable detection capability” along specific zones of the border. These cameras will provide a method to document and evaluate the exact level of detection coverage and accurately assess the interdiction rate and exact level of border security.
Last year DPS deployed additional troopers to the Rio Grande Valley Sector following a shift in human smuggling routes that sent hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens through this area. The surge in illegal immigration, particularly involving large numbers of unaccompanied minors and women, rapidly overwhelmed the capabilities and detention facilities of Homeland Security.
Building on the success of the current border surge, Operation Strong Safety, Abbott’s plan for increasing border security calls for hiring an additional 500 DPS troopers to be deployed along the Texas/Mexico border on a permanent basis.
During the illegal immigrant surge the Gulf Cartel made approximately $38 million in a matter of months from human smuggling. And, as Breitbart Texas previously reported, used illegal immigrants to help them smuggle drugs.
Breitbart Texas previously reported that while Texas DPS had increased its numbers in the Rio Grande Valley Sector, just a few counties over in Laredo, the presence of law enforcement had been lacking. This left most of that sector wide open to Los Zetas.
The infrastructure of Laredo makes it even more vulnerable since the area does not have a border fence and the population centers are just mere yards from the river.
While city officials continue to claim that Laredo is safe, drug and human smugglers connected to Los Zetas have been using the city’s storm drains in an effort to elude capture from U.S. Border Patrol Agents.