Texas wardens have recently found themselves partnering with federal agents to help prevent Mexican fishing boats from operating illegally in Texas waters.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is responsible for protecting wildlife in the portions of the Gulf of Mexico that border the state, and illegal fishing in those waters by Mexican fisherman is not an entirely uncommon sight.
However, more recently they have taken on a new role. Last summer, federal agents received a tip that some of these fishing boats might be acting as a cover for drug smuggling operations. Wardens were able to stop a vessel on the beach at South Padre Island that was carrying almost 1,000 pounds of marijuana.
An influx of drug smuggling, alongside concerns over border security as international terror threats continue to dominate the headlines, have led to game wardens playing a more important role in the maintenance of national security.
Game wardens were shifted from across the state this last fall to help assist border patrol agents during a surge of immigration. Texas Parks and Wildlife resources were strained, and policies are evolving in response to reflect game wardens changing role.
Instead of maintaining constant surveillance over large areas, game wardens have developed an intelligence gathering model built around focused surges in distinct areas. While sustaining long term operations can be extremely taxing, short term focused intelligence gathering in surges of 5-10 days have yielded promising results.
Texas Parks and Wildlife is not the only Texas organization being refocused towards the border. They are also joined by state troopers, Texas Rangers, and members of the Texas national guard. However, with $10 million dollars of state funding reallocated towards mobilizing game wardens to the border, Texas game wardens will continue to play a large role in keeping America’s borders safe over the next year.