Investigation Finds “High Threat” Border Arrests Include Drunk Driving and Not Paying Child Support

By Peek & Toland on February 22, 2017

More than 1,800 offenders who were the subject of border arrests near Mexico in 2015 were classified as “high threat criminals” by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

However, the classification has since been questioned. A report found many of those arrested in the border operation were busted for drunk driving and failure to pay child support.

An analysis of the figures by Associated Press questioned claims those who were arrested posted a high threat, Fox News reported.

Traffic offenses dominate border arrests

Many border arrests are for low-level offenses

The report said Texas Department of Public Safety once claimed conventional data fails to capture the danger to public safety and homeland security from border arrests. A $1 billion initiative was set up to secure the border.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick claimed many of those who were arrested were illegally crossing the border.

The AP investigation took issue with this claim. The probe led the Department of Public Safety to recommend removing child support evaders from the high threat list.

But the department defended the data stating it’s not intended to measure border security, although the statistics are included in briefings to legislators.

The AP used the open records laws to obtain a list of “high threat” offenders across 60 counties in the border region. Investigators looked at jail records in Hidalgo and El Paso counties, border areas that had the highest numbers of arrests. Hidalgo County, located in the Rio Grande Valley, is one of the most prolific corridors for drug and human trafficking in the United States.

The Fox report said the “high threat’ crimes included a trailer that came unlatched from an RV and ended up in incoming traffic. The incident killed another driver more than 150 miles away from the border.

AP found speeding teenagers and cases of hit-and-run with no serious injuries were included in the same classification as killers and human traffickers.

Criticism of the “High Threat” Border Arrests Data

Rep. Terry Canales, a Democratic state rep for the border city of Edinburg, said it was “shocking” that a person arrested carrying a small amount of cocaine in Odessa was classified as a high-threat criminal arrest on the Texas-Mexico border.

There was also criticism about the perceived lack of specifics in drug arrests. Many of the 2015 arrests were for possession of a controlled substance, but DPS fails to make a distinction between a tiny amount of cocaine and 50 pounds of marijuana brought in by a smuggler. The failure to pay child support was lumped in with sex crimes under offenses against the family.

If you have been charged with any drug offense or other crime near the border, there is a danger you will be wrongly classified as being a high risk criminal and treated unfairly.

See our resources about drug crimes of call us today for a consultation at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Criminal Defense

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Spate of Highway Kidnappings in Northern Mexico Sparks Calls for U.S. Security Review

By Peek & Toland on July 25, 2016

The often-volatile border between the United States and Mexico presents massive challenges to law enforcement. Recently kidnappings of Americans in northern Mexico have made headlines and worried the authorities.

The recent kidnapping of a couple from Dallas in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas has illustrated the vulnerabilities and the security challenge in the border zone.

The Dallas Morning News reported on how all Mexican border states are under security advisories from the U.S. government. The highest levels of warning concern the states of Tamaulipas and Coahuila.

Kidnappings have surged in parts of northern Mexico

On April 15, the U.S State Department updated its warning about travel to Mexico.

It stated:

“U.S. citizens have been the victims of violent crimes, such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery by organized criminal groups in various Mexican states.”

Kidnappings Surge in Tamaulipas

The family from the Dallas area was kidnapped in April en route to a funeral in the state of San Luis Potosí in Mexico. They became the victims of a highway assault that led to almost three weeks in captivity three hours from the Texas border, near the Tamaulipas capital of Ciudad Victoria.

The incident raised concerns about kidnappings in Tamaulipas, a state whose security situation has “deteriorated horribly” according to U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, who is a member of the House Homeland Security Committee.

Last year Breitbart Texas reported on how a drug cartel in Tamaulipas was seeking Americans for kidnapping to obtain ransom money.

The article pointed out that the Gulf Cartel has started to “target innocent people as a way to make quick money.”

Some of the victims did not survive their kidnapping ordeal.

There have even been instances of Mexican cartels crossing the U.S. border to carry out kidnappings.

In 2011, CNS News spoke to Sheriff Tomas Herrera of Maverick County, who said he did not agree with the assessment of the Department of Homeland Security that security at the U.S-Mexico border was improving.

He said he did not believe a single mile of the 85-mile stretch of border between the U.S. and Mexico in Maverick County, was secure and members of the Mexican drug cartels were making incursions into the United States to kidnap teenagers for their smuggling operations.

Serious crimes committed in the areas around the southern border are investigated by the FBI. They include human smuggling, drug trafficking, kidnap, murder, and corruption.

The FBI points out cash and weapons are flowing south on the 2,000-mile border and drugs are flowing north.

If you are charged with serious crimes such as kidnapping or human smuggling, you are likely to be facing a long jail sentence. Our Austin criminal defense attorneys can help you to fight these charges. Call us as soon as possible at (512) 474-4445.

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