Texas DPS joins war against Mexican drug cartel
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Drones are just one of the many hi-tech tools border agents are using to fight the increasingly violent Mexican drug cartels. And now, the Department of Public Safety is joining the fight and it gave us exclusive access to the front lines of the border battle.
Video caught of cartel thugs on the run from the DPS, racing back to the Mexican border to protect their drugs. The suspects' vehicle slashes down into the river and within seconds, Mexican drug runners are on the river, in a desperate attempt to collect the loot.
The drug cartel will regroup and try it again, but now the traffickers have another major hurdle: DPS river boats.
"As the ruthlessness of the cartels continues to increase, we are going to protect our troops the best we can," said Lt. Charlie Goble with DPS' marine unit.
Goble runs the new marine unit. It's deadly game really of cat and mouse on the Rio Grande.
"It's steadily getting more violent," he said. "They do not care who gets in their way."
There are six of these massive boats in the river now and more to come. It's a six-man crew with an amazing amount of fire power unlike the DPS has ever seen.
"We do have a significant amount of fire power that we can use to protect ourselves," Goble said.
Four 30-caliber guns on every boat, each firing 900 rounds a minute. But this battle is not just on the river. It's also now being fought by the DPS from the air.
"In aviation technology, this is the latest and greatest, fresh on the line," said Capt. Stacy Holland with DPS' chopper unit.
We helped to break in the brand new DPS chopper.
"We are facing an enemy unlike any other we have faced in law enforcement," Holland said. "They are very well armed, they've very well organized."
And it's refitted with thermal imaging camera equipment, infrared and laser markers. All perfect for another blazingly bold move by the cartel.
Another high speed chase with the cartel on the run. The driver frantically tries to get out, even prepared with a life vest. And like other splashdowns, collecting the drugs and hauling them back to Mexico, is always a top priority.
"The cartel is ruthless but they are not stupid. They are every effective at maximizing the equipment and personnel that they have," Holland said.
The DPS has really changed its tactics over the years. No longer just found on the highway, this is a sea, air, and land approach now. They're attacking it from all fronts, trying to get rid of the cartels.
"This is one of the areas most heavily smuggled in the state," Holland said.
And in fact, this river border is the longest, most porous, and most heavily drug trafficked in the nation.
"Its a very organized network. They're very discipline about it. They're scouting and they're very good," Holland said.
And the battle is only going to get worse.
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