Operation Drawbridge Helps Detect, Interdict Drug and Human Smuggling on Texas-Mexico Border in 2014

April 12, 2015

AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) today announced that Operation Drawbridge – the law enforcement initiative using motion-detection camera system along the Texas-Mexico border – was responsible for more than 29,300 apprehensions and 88,400 pounds of drugs being seized in 2014. These results represent a significant impact in the effort to combat Mexican cartel smuggling operations.

Mexican cartels continue to pose the most significant organized crime threat to Texas. In fact, seven of the eight cartels currently have command and control networks operating in the state, moving drugs and people into the United States, and transporting cash, weapons and stolen vehicles back to Mexico.

“Every day, sheriff’s deputies, police officers, Border Patrol agents and state law enforcement officers in the Texas border region risk their lives to protect Texas and the entire nation from Mexican cartels and transnational crime,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “This innovative use of technology has proven to be a force multiplier in detecting the smuggling attempts along the border, which is critical to interdicting criminal activity occurring between the ports of entry.”

Operation Drawbridge, a collaborative program between DPS, U.S. Border Patrol and border sheriffs, is a sophisticated system that utilizes motion-detection cameras located on farms and ranches near the Texas-Mexico border. The cameras are monitored in real-time, around-the-clock by the Texas Border Security Operations Center, U.S. Border Patrol, the Texas Joint Crime Information Center, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and border sheriffs’ offices. When a smuggling or suspicious event is detected, an alert is immediately sent to all law enforcement partners to support a subsequent interdiction effort.

In 2014, Operation Drawbridge was responsible for:

  • 29,361 apprehensions;
  • 58,238 individuals detected; and
  • 88,463 pounds of drugs seized.

“Any time law enforcement interdicts a smuggling attempt, we consider it a significant gain in the fight against the cartels and their operatives,’ McCraw said. “The collaborative law enforcement efforts of Operation Drawbridge have bolstered our ability to combat the exploitation of our border by these ruthless criminals.”

Since the inception of the program through the end of March 2015, Operation Drawbridge has been successful in detecting more than 121,800 criminal exploitations of the Texas-Mexico Border, and has directly resulted in the apprehension of more than 56,200 individuals and more than 112.1 tons of narcotics.

In December 2014, the Legislative Budget Board authorized funding for 4,000 additional cameras to bolster the Operation Drawbridge program. The department is currently in the process of obtaining and deploying these additional cameras.

For more information on Operation Drawbridge, visit: Operation Drawbridge.

### (HQ 2015-040)