Why should local and state law enforcement agencies be concerned about crime in other countries?
The world has dramatically changed over the last two decades and today’s threats are increasingly transnational, organized and rapidly evolving. Criminal and terrorist incidents and conspiracies in other countries impact communities throughout the state and nation, especially so when key elements of the conspiracies occur in Texas. The challenge for law enforcement agencies at all levels is to quickly and accurately identify emerging threats and proactively address them with evidenced based strategies.
Why do local and state law enforcement agencies need access to federal law enforcement and intelligence community information?
Local law enforcement agencies are on the front line of protecting their citizens and need far greater access to cross jurisdictional data than ever before to support timely tactical and strategic decision making. The cornerstone of proactive, effective and efficient law enforcement strategies and operations is the timely access and analysis of cross jurisdictional investigations, crime incidents, corroborated intelligence and suspicious events. Improvements are needed in the sharing of meaningful information and intelligence which enhances both public safety and national security.
Do the Index Crimes in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) statistics provide enough relevant data for law enforcement agencies to accurately assess crime problems in their jurisdictions?
The State of Texas as most other states relies upon the eight reported UCR Index Crimes to assess crime in and across our communities. This index was established in the 1920s and does not include data relevant to assessing transnational organized crime such as kidnappings, extortions, public corruption, drug trafficking, human trafficking and money laundering. The adoption of the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) would address these and other categories of crime relevant to assessing the impact of Mexican Organized Crime in our communities.
Why does Texas track these additional categories of criminal activity?
The Texas Border Sheriffs and others recognized the need to collect and centralize certain data to support unified patrol operations and requested the Texas Department of Public Safety to do so. DPS worked with its local, state and federal partners to establish a process to collect this data on a daily basis within the border region which has been expanded to the corridors used by the Mexican Cartels. Daily and weekly reports are provided to members of the Unified Command to support data driven tactical decision making within each Border Security Sector within the State. The Mexican Cartel crime statistics listed below are not all inclusive as most of the crimes are not reported or the links have yet to be established. The categories include:
Illegal Alien apprehensions
Arrest of Cartel members in Texas
Mexican Cartel recruitment of Texas school age children
Shootings at law enforcement officers
High speed pursuits and use of Caltrops
Stolen Vehicles recovered in Mexico
Known or Suspected Cartel related murders
Known or Suspected Cartel related kidnappings and extortions
Why does DPS track statistics on criminal aliens?
Opportunistic criminals from Mexico and around the world use the Mexican Cartel smuggling networks to enter the U.S. undetected and commit crimes in Texas. Since 2008, Texas has participated with the DHS Secure Communities initiative which has enabled law enforcement to identify 98,188 criminal aliens booked into Texas jails and these criminal aliens have been responsible for at least 311,204 individual criminal charges over their criminal careers, including 1,620 homicides and 3,682 sexual assaults.
What law enforcement agencies participate in Operation Border Star?
Operation Border Star Participants (PDF)
The Mexican Cartels dominate the lucrative U.S. drug and human smuggling market and use the billions in profits to battle each other and the Government of Mexico to maintain control or expand their smuggling operations into the U.S. Approximately 95 percent of the estimated cocaine flow toward the United States transits the Mexico-Central America corridor from its origins in South America which generates billions in profit each year.
Mexico is also a major supplier of heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine to the United States. Mexico‘s share of global poppy production has been increasing in recent years; estimates show that Mexico surpassed Burma as the world‘s second largest poppy cultivator in 2009. U.S. Government estimates for 2009 indicate that marijuana cultivation in Mexico increased by more than 45 percent.1 Mexican Cartels continue to rely primarily on California and South Texas ports of entry (POEs) to smuggle cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine across the border and on remote areas between POEs.
Mexican Cartels use U. S. based gangs to support their criminal operations on both sides of the border.
As part of a multi agency effort, DPS has collected the amount of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine seized by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies along the major smuggling corridors and within the 53 counties that comprise the border region and the coastal corridor since 2006. The cost of drugs is calculated based on the most recent price information available for multiple locations in Texas, as listed by the National Drug Intelligence Center.
|Drug Seizures April 2006 - August 2013|
|Drug||Total (lbs)||Street Price||Price Per lb|
This website reflects the known current bulk value for the narcotics from the NDIC. This value can reflect a wider range using older estimates from the NDIC over various years of data, or by dosage unit size for higher street values.
2012 Marijuana Seizures as of
2012 Cocaine Seizures as of
2012 Methamphetamine Seizures
2012 Heroin Seizures as of
Smugglers are becoming more innovative about hiding drugs in hollow compartments in vehicles and other items.
Texas Highway Patrol seized $447,981 in currency and a pistol during a traffic stop. The currency was concealed in false compartment in the floor of a pickup. The male driver and female passenger were traveling on US-59S from Houston, TX, to McAllen, TX.
Texas Highway Patrol seized 51.2 lbs of cocaine concealed in a false compartment in the rear deck of an SUV. The driver was traveling from Alton, TX on US-59 to Houston, TX.
A Trooper was on routine patrol in Wharton county on US-59 when he stopped tractor trailer for driving on improved shoulder and improper/defective mud flap. Trooper observed several signs of criminal activity. Verbal consent to search was asked for and received. Upon search of trailer trooper located 42 bundles of suspected marijuana co-mingled in the load.
On 11/28/11, at 10:15am, a Trooper stopped a truck towing a trailer on US 281 in San Manuel, for a unsecured load. During the interview, the Trooper observed indicators of criminal activity. Consent to search was requested and granted.
During the search, the Trooper found two wooden compartments of marijuana hidden in between the load of hay, weighing 1735 LBS.
On 1/12/12, a Trooper on routine patrol on FM 490 – Hidalgo county, made contact with a driver that had exited a vehicle. The Trooper requested identification from the driver and the driver fled on foot.
The Trooper saw marijuana in plain view in the vehicle.
Further investigation revealed the vehicle was a cloned AT&T work truck containing 2,168 pounds of marijuana in all storage compartments, inkling the front seat and floorboard.
A Trooper was on routine patrol and noticed a white flatbed pulling a gooseneck trailer. After 15-20 minutes, he saw another trailer pass by with the same company markings. He noticed this was not a company he had seen operating in the area before. He made a traffic stop and noticed discrepancies and criminal indicators. He called a second Trooper and gave him a description of the vehicles.
The Trooper made a traffic stop and the driver of the second vehicle had a criminal history. The Trooper was able to find hidden crates concealed in the load. Both vehicles had the same type of compartment concealing the drugs. The total drugs seized was 8,509 pounds of marijuana.
DPS Press release regarding seizures made by DPS and our partners
As drugs are flowing into the US, cash is flowing out. Estimates for the amount of cash that travels from the United States to Mexico to fuel the criminal operations of drug cartels range from $19 billion to $29 billion each year.3
|Operation Border Star Currency Seizures
(April 2006 - August 2013)
|Currency||Total Amount Seized|
|Calendar Year||U.S. Dollar ($)|
|2006 (April 1- Dec 31)||$10,939,258.00|
2012 Cash Seizures as of April 30, 2012
Since 2009, 4,438 weapons have been seized in Texas by participants in Operation Border Star.
Alien Related Statistics
Since 2006, the U.S. Border Patrol has reported 3,951,788 illegal alien apprehensions along the U.S.-Mexico border, including 1,160,545 apprehensions in the Texas sectors of Big Bend, Del Rio, El Paso, Laredo, and Rio Grande Valley.4
Since September 15, 2011, 13,062 illegal aliens have been identified in TDCJ units. These 13,062 criminal aliens are responsible for 61,437 total crimes over their criminal careers.
From October 2008 – April 1, 2013, Texas identified a total 154,410 unique criminal alien defendants booked into Texas county jails. These defendants are responsible for at least 491,038 individual criminal charges over their criminal careers, including 2,736 homicides and 6,487 sexual assaults.
Note that these numbers include only those aliens whose fingerprints were already in the federal system when they were booked, and it does not necessarily include all those who are incarcerated in federal prison. Several have been previously deported and returned to commit additional crimes.
Since 2006, 77,717 illegal aliens have been apprehended and referred to CBP in Texas by local and state law enforcement officers.
Violence Against Law Enforcement
Mexican cartels are becoming increasingly confrontational in encounters with law enforcement officers.
Since 2009, there have been 80 incidents in which shots were fired at 93 law enforcement officers in Texas.
Since 2008, there have been 82 caltrop incidents, where cartel operatives throw tire-deflation spikes at the vehicles of law enforcement officers in order to evade arrest.
These spikes have damaged and disabled law enforcement and civilian vehicles.
The 82nd Legislature prohibited the use of caltrops. Using a caltrop or other tire deflation device against an officer while the actor is in flight is now a third degree felony.
Since 2009, there have been 77 cartel-related splashdowns, where drug smugglers drive their vehicle into the river in order to evade law enforcement officers, while boat retrieval teams enter the river from Mexico to recover the drug loads. In addition to the actual splashdown itself, criminals that engage in splashdowns commit multiple offenses, such as drug trafficking, vehicle flight, and reckless driving. Some of these criminals also use dangerous weapons as they flee from law enforcement and attempt to destroy evidence.(Nighttime)
click to play
DPS Helicopter follows a pursuit where local law enforcement places spikes on the road in attempt to stop the suspect vehicle; the vehicle avoids the spikes by taking alternate dirt road that leads to the river. The suspect vehicle then has sparks fly from its rear to divert law enforcement prior to splashdown in the river. Waiting for the vehicle is a raft in the water to retrieve the drug load and take it back across the river to the approximately 24 people and five vehicles.
Click here to download this movie in zipped WMV file
click to play
DPS Helicopter follows pursuit of suspect vehicle by local PD through a residential area. Suspect vehicle turns off onto dirt road en route to river; load of drugs is covered by a large tarp. The suspect vehicle then avoids the Border Patrol Unit by taking an alternate road and splashes down into the river where three rafts are waiting to transport the load back to Mexico.
Click here to download this movie in zipped WMV file
Mexican cartels recruit Texas youth to traffic drugs across the border. The Texas border region represents 9.7% of the state’s population, yet this region has 19.2% of the state’s juvenile felony drug referrals and 21.8% of the state’s juvenile felony gang referrals.
In October 2011, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) apprehended a 12-year-old boy in a border county driving a stolen pickup truck containing more than 800 pounds of marijuana.
In another border county, more than 25 juveniles have been arrested for drug trafficking within the past year.
DPS Press Release regarding cartels recruiting children.
Major multi-agency investigations have resulted in the arrest of hundreds of Mexican cartel members and associates who operated in Texas. Since 2007, these arrests have included at least 119 from the Gulf Cartel, 9 from the Juarez Cartel, 165 from La Familia Michoacana, 98 from Los Zetas, and 2 from the Sinaloa Cartel.
Since 2009, there have been 37 homicides in Texas related to cartel criminal activity. The assessment of whether a crime was related to the Mexican cartels is based upon the best available information from ongoing investigations, confidential informants and intelligence reporting.
Crimes linked to the cartels will be added or in some instances reduced based upon new information to indicate that it was or was not related to the Mexican cartels.
Details on cartel related murders in Texas:
Date: 19 APR 2011
Location: Palmview, TX
Description: One male victim was shot from behind.
Date: 30 SEPT 2010
Location: Brownsville, TX
Description: Two male victims were shot to death in a pickup truck with Mexican license plates that was riddled with bullets.
Date: 29 AUG 2010
Location: Presidio, TX
Description: One male victim’s body was found on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande River bound at the hands and feet and with a gunshot wound in the head.
Date: 26 AUG 2010
Location: Edinburg, TX
Description: One male victim was beaten, shot, and buried under concrete.
Date: 25 AUG 2010
Location: Fabens, TX
Description:One male victim was shot to death.
Date: 25 AUG 2010
Location: Dallas, TX
Description: One male victim was shot multiple times and found in a burning vehicle.
Date: 19 JULY 2010
Location: Laredo, TX
Description: One male victim died after being shot multiple times.
Date: 11 JUNE 2010
Location: Zapata Co, TX
Description:One male victim was killed.
Date: 07 JUNE 2010
Location: Dallas, TX
Description: One male victim’s remains were located in a burning vehicle with Mexican license plates.
Date: 31 MAY 2010
Location: Travis Co, TX
Description: Two male victims were shot and killed by a male suspect.
Date: 29 MAY 2010
Location: San Juan, TX
Description: One male victim was shot to death when at least three suspects attempted to kidnap him from his home.
Date: 04 MAR 2010
Location: Dallas, TX
Description: One female victim was shot dead by drug traffickers outside her home.
Date: 06 FEB 2010
Location: Palmview, TX
Description: One male victim was beaten and shot to death in a field north of Palmview after stealing a load of marijuana.
Date: 3 SEP 2009
Location: Horizon City, Texas
Description: One male victim was kidnapped from his home in Horizon City; his body was found in Ciudad Juarez with his hands cut off.
Date: 15 MAY 2009
Location: El Paso, Texas
Description: One male victim was shot and killed in El Paso.
Date: 20 APR 2009
Location: Dallas, Texas
Description: One male victim was shot to death by at least one assailant.
Human smugglers regularly kidnap groups of illegal aliens in Texas and hold them against their will in safe houses while demanding ransom payments from their families. In other cases, cartel members and associates have abducted individuals in Texas to force them to align themselves with the cartel.
Mexican cartels are adept at corrupting law enforcement officers and public officials in Mexico and the United States.