Note: Does Texas get to keep the spoils? Without the RICO or
former AZ AG abuses? If so, AZ next?
Comments from our TX friends?
Lucio sponsors bill to help curb guns cash, going to Mexico
May 04, 2011 8:46 PM
By NAXIELY LOPEZ/The Monitor
State legislators passed a bill that expands the authority of the
Texas Department of Public Safety in operating checkpoints at the
international bridges along the Texas-Mexico border.
Senate Bill 288 was passed Wednesday as part of an attempt to curb
the smuggling of cash and weapons into Mexico, said the bill's
author, Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville.
"For too long, the focus of homeland security policy, especially at
the federal level, has been on what is coming out of Mexico — not on
what is going into Mexico," Lucio said in his introductory remarks to
"The fact is that millions of dollars in cash are being transferred
from the United States to Mexico each year. Houston is the No. 1
source for illegally obtained guns being recovered in Mexico, with
Dallas and the Rio Grande Valley being second and third,
respectively," Lucio said.
Currently, DPS can operate checkpoints within 250 yards of an
international port of entry but only for the purpose of preventing
stolen vehicles from entering Mexico, Lucio said. The new bill allows
officials to expand the scope of those checkpoints to include the
"imminent movement or transfer of firearms, controlled substances and
currency," he said.
Lucio used the slaying of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Special Agent Jaime Zapata, who was shot to death along a Mexican
highway in February, to make his point. The gun that took Zapata's
life, which was recovered from the crime scene, was traced to a legal
purchase made in the Dallas area and then smuggled into Mexico, he said.
"In other words, a Texas gun took the life of a Texas son who was
working to end human trafficking and make our border safe," Lucio said.
The bill provides for DPS to establish the checkpoints in conjunction
with federal and local authorities to ensure they are a collaborative
effort. It also has a four-year Sunset provision that will allow the
84th legislature to review its success in 2015 and hold the group
accountable, Lucio added.
"I believe the expansion of DPS's authority to operate checkpoints,
as outlined in this bill, strikes a fair balance between security and
liberty — between being smart and being tough, between protecting
Texans and protecting the Texan way of life," he said.
The bill still has to go to the House and to the governor for his
signature before it would become law.