In what ended up to be a multi-agency effort, game wardens in Texas initiated a response to drug smugglers who made landfall at a popular beach on South Padre Island. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has a dedicated Marine Tactical Operations Group that responds to such incidents.
After receiving notification that a vessel traveling from Mexico had landed on the Island, the game wardens responded immediately. They located a vehicle backed up to the water near the Island’s hotel district. A vessel called a “lancha” was behind the vehicle in the surf.
The game wardens immediately took the driver of the vehicle into custody while the lancha fled. Border patrol agents and game wardens seized 17 bales of pot from the vehicle and the beach around it.
Meanwhile, CBP agents with the Office of Air Marine gave chase to the lancha until it capsized. They were then able to take the five people on it into custody and recover even more bales of pot.
The drug smugglers made the mistake of choosing to land in an area frequented by tourists and sportsmen which drew the almost immediate notice of the game wardens.
The Director of Law Enforcement for the TPWD, COL Game Warden Craig Hunter, attributed the quick response to the “strong relationship of cooperation” between Texas Law Enforcement and its federal partners.
Additional agencies involved in the interdiction and arrest of the smugglers included:
- Cameron County Park Police
- US Coast Guard SPI Station
- South Padre Island Police Department
- Homeland Security Investigations
As the saying goes, Don’t mess with Texas!