Calling it a national security breach, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples says violent crime is bleeding across the Texas/Mexican border and accuses Washington of turning its back on a growing problem that threatens the security of the nation and the safety of every Texan.
Staples delivered the keynote address at the Angelo State University Narco-Terrorism Conference Aug. 21 and introduced a 16-part video series focusing on what he termed a growing problem of narco-terrorists expanding armed and violet incursions into Texas.
“Federal officials in Washington can no longer deny violence in Mexico is flowing into the United States,” Staples told participants at the conference. “These brazen transnational criminal organizations are using terrorism to smuggle drugs and people through our Texas farms and ranches. The violence is not only taking place along the Rio Grande River, but also on property 50 or 60 miles north of the border.”
Staples said Mexican drug cartels have chosen Texas as a primary point of entry to illegally smuggle drugs and humans into the U.S. and he says such incursions often involve violent crimes against foreign citizens who pay cartel “coyotes” to bring them into the United States, and he also charges the cartels with crimes against rural Americans.
“Our citizens are finding human remains in their fields along with drugs and cut fences,” Staples told the group. “There also have been incidents where fearful U.S. citizens have sold their property or had to hold intruders at gunpoint in order to protect their families. Clearly, this is a national security breach that demands sufficient federal resources to combat the cartels and restore safety and security to Texas soil.”
The video series titled “Texas Traffic – True Stories of Drug and Human Smuggling,” will be made available for public viewing on the web site www.ProtectYourTexasBorder.com in a series of 16 videos with a new video released each week for a four month period. The videos highlight live testimony and stories from property owners and law enforcement officials who have experience in dealing with narco-terrorism problems in Texas.
Among them is Dr. Mike Vickers, a veterinarian and property owner in Brooks County. Vickers, like Staples, testified before Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Management last October. During that testimony he told committee members that property damage in Brook County alone has been staggering with damages including cut fences, extreme amounts of refuse, destroyed rural water sources, vandalized homes, and stolen vehicles, which he said were everyday occurrences. In addition, he testified that fires have also been set by smugglers, including one that resulted in the deaths of at least three illegal travelers and required many others to be air lifted to safety.
At the conference, Vickers compared the Texas border to a battleground and accused the federal government of downplaying the severity of the situation.
“The border is not secure,” Vickers says. “It’s dangerous. We are in a war zone. There’s absolutely no truth to what they [federal officials] are saying.”
Staples said the “Texas Traffic” video stories are a testament to the reality that violence initiated by Mexican drug cartels is flowing into the United States and extending northward into other areas of the nation, and he warned that statements from Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano that the U.S. border is more secure than ever before are simply untrue. Using a PowerPoint presentation entitled “Texas in the Crosshairs,” Staples offered conference attendees a barrage of statistics proving what he says Washington officials continue to deny.
“The ‘Texas Traffic’ testimonials prove the violence is here on the U.S. side of the border. The statistics also prove that the escalating violence in Mexico’s drug wars is overwhelmingly taking place along the Texas portion of our border. Texas is clearly in the crosshairs,” Staples concluded at the conference.