Perry: Border Security Operation Reduced Crime, Shut Down Smugglers
Five-County, Multi-Agency Effort to Become a Model for Other Border Counties
DEL RIO - Gov. Rick Perry today received an after-action briefing from state and local law enforcement officers on Operation Del Rio, a multi-agency border security operation to target international criminal enterprises and reduce crime and violence in a five-county region along the Texas-Mexico border. In Val Verde County, which was the focus of the law enforcement effort, there was a 76% reduction in major crime when compared to the same 30-day period last year.
"I have been briefed by representatives of law enforcement on the success of this operation, and I am encouraged by the tremendous results they have achieved. This initiative significantly reduced all types of crime, led to dozens of arrests, and effectively shut down the activities of international crime syndicates across a five-county region," Perry said. "This effort has proven the principle that an increase in patrols leads to a decrease in every kind of crime. It has protected our border and our communities. And it has provided a model for future operations that will be conducted in every county along the Texas-Mexico border."
The operation brought together the sheriffs from Kinney, Maverick, Val Verde, Zavala and Dimmit counties, the police departments of Del Rio and Eagle Pass, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Department of Public Safety, the Texas National Guard, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Civil Air Patrol, and the Governor's Division of Emergency Management.
State assets involved in the operation include:
* A team of DPS Highway Patrol troopers with communications support personnel,
* A DPS SWAT team, as well as criminal intelligence and narcotics investigators,
* 3 DPS helicopters and crew members providing 24-hour support,
* 2 Texas Task Force-1 boats with crews,
* A team of Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens and 12 boats,
* 3 TPWD Ground Units with all-terrain vehicles, and
* A mobile communications unit.
"As the presence of law enforcement surged, common criminals stayed off the streets, fewer Texans made emergency phone calls to local sheriffs, and drug smugglers shut down their operations because the risk of being caught was too great," Perry said. "The international drug cartels and human smuggling rings will not know when or where these operations will occur, what types of activities they will involve, or how long they will last. The message we are sending to criminals who exploit our border is that the cost of doing business in Texas is going up substantially."
The effort was conducted as part of Operation Rio Grande, Perry's comprehensive border security initiative that coordinates local, state and federal assets. Planning began a full six weeks before the operation was launched, and intelligence to support the operation was coordinated through the state Border Security Operations Center. Perry said the operation would be a model for future joint law enforcement efforts in other border counties.
"Combined with the border security efforts we have previously announced, including continued state funding for border sheriffs through Operation Linebacker, our virtual border watch program, and the $100 million I will seek from the legislature to sustain these efforts, Texas is not waiting for Washington to act. We will continue to do all we can to make our border stronger and our nation safer," Perry said.