Commissioner Staples Awards DPS $225,000 to Combat Mexican Drug Cartels, Protect Texans by Placing Cameras in Border Region (10/11/2012)

SAN ANTONIO — In an ongoing commitment to enhance U.S./Mexico border security and protect Texans, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples today joined Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw, Sen. Craig Estes and other state and federal officials to present DPS with a $225,000 grant to expand the successful Operation Drawbridge program. Operation Drawbridge is a program led by DPS, border sheriffs and the U.S. Border Patrol that installs and monitors motion-detecting cameras located on voluntarily participating farms and ranches near the Texas/Mexico border.

“This grant is another critical step toward securing our southern border,” Commissioner Staples said. “Operation Drawbridge provides undeniable photographic proof that private landowners are constantly dealing with the dangers of deadly drug cartels and the impact of illegal human trafficking. DPS will now be able to double its current surveillance capabilities and provide much-needed assistance to the men and women who risk their lives daily to protect Texas land, residents and our food supply from border violence and spillover crime coming from dangerous Mexican drug cartels.” 

According to DPS, Operation Drawbridge has resulted in the apprehension of approximately 4,000 individuals and more than 10 tons of narcotics since January 2012. Operation Drawbridge is fully operational today with hundreds of cameras located along the border. The new funding will essentially double the number of cameras involved in the operation. For security purposes, the exact number and location of cameras is not available.

“We are grateful to Commissioner Staples for this critical funding, which will significantly bolster our ability to monitor illegal activity along the remote areas of the Texas border,” DPS Director McCraw said. “Operation Drawbridge and the dedication of the men and women of the sheriffs’ offices and U.S. Border Patrol in the border region are helping to make Texas more secure every day by working together and leveraging technology.”

The cameras involved in Operation Drawbridge are monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week by the Texas Fusion Center, Texas Border Security Operations Center, DPS Communications and U.S. Border Patrol.

“The Legislature’s number one priority is the safety and security of our citizens,” Sen. Estes said. “Texas has, and will continue, to fund security efforts, especially along our border areas. We cannot have homeland security until we have true border security, and I look forward to working closely with Commissioner Todd Staples and Director Steven McCraw to enhance Texas border security.”

“Here in our state, we continue to deal with the serious impacts of a porous, international border,” Commissioner Staples said. “In Texas, we will continue to fill in the gaps by partnering with various local state and federal law enforcement agencies to use innovative measures to protect our citizens. Until we have the appropriate level of federal personnel and resources along our border, Texas landowners, who are pleading for sufficient relief, will continue to suffer the harsh consequences of drug and human trafficking.”

Recently, Commissioner Staples announced the debut of a 16-part video series titled “Texas Traffic – True Stories of Drug and Human Smuggling.” The series documents the real border war taking place in South Texas and is available at www.ProtectYourTexasBorder.com.

For more details and photos from Operation Drawbridge, click here.