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First high-intensity phase of Operation Wrangler made Texas safer

Contraband seized and suspects arrested

From the Office of Gov. Rick Perry

February 21, 2007

Government - Gov. Perry pictureAUSTIN–Gov. Rick Perry Feb. 13 announced that the first high intensity phase of Operation Wrangler led to the apprehension of numerous criminals and drug shipments and made Texans safer. The first high-intensity phase of Operation Wrangler was conducted from January 17 to January 29, and involved the coordinated efforts of state, local and federal law enforcement agencies. Operation Wrangler remains an active law enforcement operation and will reenter the high intensity or “surge” phase in various geographic regions at various times in the future.

“The initial high intensity phase of Operation Wrangler has taken hundreds of criminals and thousands of pounds of illegal drugs off Texas streets,” Perry said. “This latest operation has not only made Texans safer, it underscores the need for lawmakers to provide the $100 million Texas needs to continue these operations while the federal government implements new border security measures.”

Operation Wrangler is the second phase of Operation Rio Grande, which was launched February 2006 and reduced all crime by an average of 60 percent in sheriff-patrolled areas of border counties during five surge operations. Operation Wrangler is the statewide expansion of those highly successful border security surge operations.

“We have a border security strategy that works,” Perry said. “When we substantially increase law enforcement personnel and resources, we see a significant disruption of criminal and illegal activity.”

Under continuing Operation Wrangler efforts, Perry said his office will continue to coordinate and stage similar intelligence-driven security operations along the border and drug and human smuggling corridors across the state.

“The international drug cartels and human smuggling rings will not be given the advantage of knowing when or where these operations will occur, what type of activities they will encompass, or how long the operations will last,” Perry added. “But they can be certain that when it comes to border security, Texas is not sitting idly by.”

The Border Security Operations Center within the State Operations Center serves as a central point of coordination for state, local and federal officials during Operation Wrangler. The 11 Joint Operational Intelligence Centers (JOIC) are positioned throughout the state and provide real-time information and intelligence in support of these surge operations. The JOICs located at border patrol offices along the border include El Paso, Marfa, Del Rio, Laredo and McAllen. Other centers are located along smuggling corridors at area law enforcement departments in Houston, Corpus Christi, Garland, Waco, Lubbock and Midland. Several New Mexico law enforcement agencies, including the state police and the border sheriffs, participated in this coordinated effort.

In addition to the more than 1,700 Texas Army National Guard (TANG) troops Gov. Perry activated for Operation Jump Start to support U.S. Border Patrol activities, he activated an additional 604 troops, comprising 12 armed security platoons. The TANG will continue to be deployed to various crossovers along the Rio Grande River to support Operation Wrangler, and will be accompanied by a Border Patrol agent and a local law enforcement officer.

Local, state and federal agencies involved in the statewide surge of Operation Wrangler included local sheriffs’ offices and police departments; the Texas Department of Public Safety; the Texas Department of Transportation; the National Park Service; the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; the Texas Civil Air Patrol; the Texas Cattleman’s Association; Texas Military Forces; Texas Task Force 1; the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency; the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Immigration & Customs Enforcement; the Railroad Police; the U.S. Transportation Security Agency; the U.S. Postal Service; the U.S. Coast Guard; and the University of Texas Center for Space Research. The above agencies and others will continue to work together, and targeted surge operations will be conducted based upon the evolving threat.

Perry has proposed that the Texas Legislature approve an additional $100 million during the legislative session to sustain border security efforts and ongoing operations.

“As I have said before, a strong Texas border means a safer America,” Perry said. “And until the federal government fulfills its responsibility to secure the nation’s borders, we will continue to exhaust all available means at the state level to secure the Texas-Mexico border and protect our families and communities.”

A summary of incidents from January 17 to January 29 is available below.

Operation Wrangler Summary of Incidents, January 17 – January 29
Criminal Gang Members Arrested

1 – LOCO 13 (local Rio Grande Valley)
2 Mexican Mafia
1 Hermanos Pistoleros
1 18th Street Gang
1 Valley Boys
1 Vallucos
4 Texas Syndicate
1 Texas Chicano Brotherhood
1 Sur 13
1 Tango Blasters

Contraband Seizures

Marijuana – 27,432 lbs
Crack and Powder Cocaine - 50,287 gms
Heroin – 8,221 gms
Methamphetamine – 8,745 gms
Ecstacy – 21 gms
PCP – 7gms
Prescription Drugs – 8,626 gms
Monetary Seizures

$1,695,806 cash (U.S. dollars)
17,200 pesos (= $1,565.20)

Probable cause referrals to the Border Patrol and/or Immigration and Customs Enforcement

967 Mexican Nationals
430 Other Than Mexican Nationals
26 Special Interest Aliens (Jordan – 1; China – 7; Cuba – 1; Eretria – 1; Brazil – 16)
1350 Nationality Not Specified

Arrests Made for Crimes Against People

136 Human Smuggling
26 Aggravated Assault
5 Aggravated Robbery
2 Kidnapping

Arrests Made for Crimes Against Property

74 Stolen Vehicles
19 Burglaries
17 Thefts
Other Arrests

14 Firearms Violations
238 DWI
247 DWLI (Driving with license invalid)
169 Fugitive Warrants
25,760 Traffic Violations
2 Illegal Fishing

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