“Border Splurge: Texas’ Billion-dollar Drug War”

November 14, 2016 

In the past decade, Texas lawmakers have funded a string of Department of Public Safety operations – in large part – to stop drug smugglers from entering the state from Mexico. But a nine-month KXAN investigation reveals very few of the arrests DPS troopers are making on the border are the bad guys they were sent to catch. Our investigative team reviewed all trooper arrests along the border – 31,786 violations from late June 2014 through September 2016 – and found most arrests are for drunk driving. Just 6% were for felony drug possession.
And when the worst criminals are actually apprehended, they often do not go to prison. In Hidalgo and Starr Counties, the two counties where DPS border operations peak, a 500-case analysis by KXAN found – of cases closed – a quarter of felony drug offenders only got probation. And 33% only received probation after a short stint in jail – but no prison.
Accounts from local law enforcement and drug seizure data show – despite heavy spending – drugs are still making their way across the border and into Central Texas. A DPS report in the last legislative session stated its effort at that time “deters cartel smuggling…but it does not secure the border.” Soon, lawmakers will weigh the agency’s biggest border security request yet – more than a billion taxpayer dollars to deploy even more troopers.

FULL DIGITAL PROJECT: Border Splurge: Texas’ Billion-dollar Drug War

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POLITICAL PROGRAM/ROUNDTABLE: State of Texas: Border Splurge

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Submitted by Josh Hinkle.

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