Wednesday, October 26, 2011



Link to pdf file on conventional arms transfers
Be sure to view page 18 of report Note also that small arms are
considered very small change, although useful for policy objectives.

VIDEO: State ag commish leads border talks at Crime Stopper conference
October 26, 2011 10:00 AM
Naxiely Lopez
The Monitor

McALLEN — Border security was spotlighted at the 23rd annual Crime
Stoppers conference Tuesday at the McAllen Convention Center, where
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples once again asked the
federal government to back state efforts to curb illegal activity
along the Mexican border.

Event organizers invited Staples to speak at the statewide conference
as part of Law Enforcement Day, an event organized to give the public
a chance to learn about the policing efforts to curb human and drug

"There's a need to take part in Crime Stoppers," Staples told a room
full of volunteers from across the state. "We continue to hear from
farmers and ranchers about the rural areas and the rural runaround of
the drug trade that we know is negatively impacting the farmers and

Staples, a longtime critic of the federal government's attempts at
fighting the drug war, spearheaded a state-led effort to assess the
impact of illegal activity along the border on rural landowners and
the agriculture industry. He tasked two decorated military generals
to undertake the assessment, which culminated in a report released in
September that stated in part that "living and conducting business in
a Texas border county is tantamount to living in a war zone."

The statement sparked criticism from lawmakers and law enforcement
leaders from across that state who argued that many of the border
cities have lower crime rates than metropolitan areas — like Houston
— that are not along the border.

"I think the comments that were made were originally made by some
rural sheriff's deputies and those working in the rural areas,"
Staples said of the "war zone" reference. "Not obviously our cities
that are robust and are having a great deal of economic activity."

The agriculture commissioner also touched on education, which he said
was integral in forging the future of the state and fighting
transnational organizations.

Educational opportunities for the youth are needed so it's not
"here's $50 to go move a vehicle every four hours … . Because we know
what that leads to," he said.

A recent warning from the Texas Department of Public Safety indicated
cartels are using juveniles for their operations.

The more educated a person is, the less likely he or she is to become
involved in criminal activity, Staples added.

He asked the federal government to even out their resources to better
reflect the reality along the border.

"The strength and manpower that we have in rural areas is just not
balanced with what we have in other border states, and we're asking
for more resources from our federal government in order to give
relief to those rural farmers and ranchers," he said, adding that 93
percent of the state's border is unincorporated.

Texas accounts for 64 percent of the border between the U.S. and
Mexico, yet only 41 percent of Border Patrol agents are stationed in
the state, Staples said. New Mexico, Arizona and California have an
average of 15 agents per post, while Texas has six, he added.

He called for a unified effort from the state to secure the border.

"If you want something to happen, tell a Texan it can't be done," he
said, referring to a billboard he recently saw in Austin. "We want
every part of Texas to experience the growth that McAllen has because
success begets success, and that's what we're looking for, from the
Rio Grande Valley to the Panhandle."

Naxiely Lopez covers law enforcement and general assignments for The
Monitor. She can be reached at (956) 683-4434.

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