Last year, President Obama turned border security into a joke when he said Republicans wouldn’t be happy until they get a moat…with alligators in it.
No, the Texas Department of Public Safety hasn’t gotten said reptile-infested moat to combat the growing problem of violent drug cartels crossing into the U.S. via the Rio Grande. They did, however, get a bold new force in the form of ‘gunboats’ that are sure to make Somali pirates green with envy.
“These patrol vessels and the newly formed Tactical Marine Unit represent a significant enhancement of the department’s ability to detect, disrupt and deter illegal activity along the Rio Grande River and Texas coast,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “We are honored to name these boats after our State Troopers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice serving and protecting the people of Texas.”
The press release continues to say:
The black and white patrol vessels are equipped with advanced law enforcement technology, including multiple automatic weapons, ballistic shielding and night vision capabilities. All six patrol vessels are funded by the Texas Legislature and federal homeland security grants.
According to Fox News, the price tag on each of the boats comes in at $558,000. Four of the boats are now patrolling the waters with two more to be commissioned soon.
Given that U.S. ranchers along the border live in fear, thousands of lives have been lost due to drug-related violence and the fact that just yesterday, an ICE agent was shot in Texas while on surveillance - I’d say it’s a pretty good investment.
Since 2007, roughly 56,000 people in Mexico have been killed in the escalating drug cartel violence. The U.S. government and local police agencies are working around the clock, 365 days a year to try and stop the flow of drugs, weapons and illegal immigrants into America from our southern neighbor.
Of the nearly 2,000-mile border with Mexico, about 1,200 of it is in Texas. The terrain here is very different compared to California, New Mexico and Arizona -- states with dry land on the border.
The narrow and winding Rio Grande, meanwhile, is a hotbed of activity, since you can literally swim from one side to the other in just a few minutes. Officials say this makes it extremely enticing for smugglers, which is why authorities have to be one step ahead.
Check out the boats in action: