EXCLUSIVE: East Texas County 400 Miles from Border Declares Migrant-Crisis Disaster

San Jacinto County Commissioners hear from residents in support of a border-crisis disaster declaration. (Bob Price/Breitbart Texas)
Bob Price/Breitbart Texas

COLDSPRING, Texas — Nearly 200 residents of rural San Jacinto County, Texas, watched as the commissioners’ court declared a border-crisis state of disaster. Following a mass murder and cartel-connected marijuana grow house bust, county residents had seen firsthand, the impact of the border crisis on their community.

San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers read the proposed Declaration of Local State of Disaster (attached below) to the San Jacinto County Commissioners’ Court and the citizens of the county gathered to support the measure. The declaration will allow the county to apply for state funding under Governor Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star border security mission.

San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers presents a proposed disaster declaration to commissioners' court. (Bob Price/Breitbart Texas)

San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers presents a proposed disaster declaration to commissioners’ court. (Bob Price/Breitbart Texas)

Capers told the commissioners that funding is available, if approved by the governor’s office, to purchase additional equipment and hire more manpower to combat the impacts of border-related criminal activity taking place in the county.

“We will be able to place deputies on the roads in an overtime capacity at no cost to the citizens of this county to help slow the drug flow,” the East Texas sheriff told commissioners. “We will move from a reactive position to a proactive position.”

Texas State Representative Earnest Bailes also spoke to commissioners in support of the disaster declaration.

“The southern border has been a big part of what we dealt with this legislative session,” Bailes stated. “We made sure to put the money there to support this local community and this county.”

Bailes pledged his support in helping the county obtain the available funding.

San Jacinto County Judge Fritz Faulkner reviews the county's disaster declaration prior to a unanimous vote to approve. (Bob Price/Breitbart Texas)

San Jacinto County Judge Fritz Faulkner (far left) reviews the county’s disaster declaration prior to a unanimous vote to approve. (Bob Price/Breitbart Texas)

San Jacinto County Judge Fritz Faulkner acknowledged the large community of concerned residents and accepted a motion from Commissioner David Brandon which was passed unanimously by the commissioners in attendance.

The nearly 200 residents in attendance stood and applauded the commissioners’ approval of the declaration.

“I know a good deal of the citizenry is concerned about this,” Judge Faulkner told Breitbart Texas after the vote. Faulkner acknowledged the impact of recent border-crisis-related crimes in his community and agreed with the statement of every town being a border town.

“We’re going to send this off to the governor today and put the ball in his court,” the county judge concluded. In Texas, a county judge serves as the county’s chief executive officer.

In an interview following the declaration’s passage, Sheriff Capers told Breitbart Texas his residents have seen firsthand, the impact of the massive surge of drug and human smuggling on this East Texas community located about 400 miles inland from the Texas-Mexico border. In late April, a four-time deported Mexican national opened fire on his Honduran migrant neighbors leaving five people, including a child, dead, Breitbart Texas reported. A few days later, Capers and his deputies raided a large marijuana grow operation that yielded nearly 160 plants. Deputies found the grow house during a manhunt for the alleged mass killer.

“This is the first of many steps,” Capers said. “I am elated that they signed the declaration and appreciate all the support of the people who showed up to help get that accomplished.”

“Now it is in the governor’s hands to sign,” the sheriff explained. “It’s up to him as to whether or not he wants to make us part of Operation Lone Star and help confront this illegal smuggling and drug trafficking.”

U.S. Highway (Interstate 69) passes through part of San Jacinto County. The highway is a major corridor for both drug and human smuggling. Additional funding could provide the county with the resources to increase patrols on this highway and arrest or deter those smugglers operating in the area.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.

San Jacinto County Declaration of Local State of Disaster


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