Texas 'navy' to patrol the Rio Grande
Texas will deploy a fleet of six gunboats on the Rio Grande.
February 29th, 2012
02:11 PM ET

Texas 'navy' to patrol the Rio Grande

Texas is getting its own navy.

Next month, the state's Department of Public Safety will deploy the first of a fleet of six gunboats on the Rio Grande, the river that forms the border between the state and Mexico, CNN affiliate WFAA-TV reports.

The 34-foot-long boats, each powered by three, 300-horsepower outboard engines, will have bulletproof plating and six machine guns apiece, not unlike the river patrol boats the U.S. Navy used during the Vietnam War.

The vessels will be able to operate in as little as 2 feet of water, according to the report, and will work with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to combat drug smuggling coming across the Rio Grande.

"They're finding out when those people are coming across, and one of the things they need to be able to do is interdict them on the water," Texas state Rep. Paul Workman told CNN affiliate KVUE-TV when the first of the boats, the JD Davis, was christened in December.

"If you're trying to suppress organized smuggling activity, there's no substitute for putting people on the ground," Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven C. McCraw said at the December ceremony. "The way they're operating right now, you need them on the water as well."

"It sends a message: Don't mess with Texas," Jose Rodriguez, a regional commander of the Texas Department of Safety, told WFAA.

The six boats will be named after Texas state troopers killed in the line of duty. The first was named after Jerry Don Davis, who was shot and killed in 1980. Another, to be commissioned Thursday in Austin, will be named in honor of  trooper David Irvine Rucker, who was killed in 1981, according to The Brownsville Herald.

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Filed under: Crime • Drug violence • Drugs • Texas
soundoff (1,047 Responses)
  1. programmergirl

    A good start. I like the fact that they are naming the boats after Border Patrol officers whose lives were lost while performing their jobs. What a nice way to remember them.

    February 29, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. George

    They need their own navy SEALs

    February 29, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Devin

    I wish my state had gun boats.

    February 29, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joshua Ludd

    Yeah, don't mess with Texas. Texas is already more than enough of a mess.

    February 29, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jeepers

    This pleases me. Hope they get to use the guns, if you know what I'm sayin'.

    February 29, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • headShaker

      Your hate, fear & disregard for human life are more to blame for what's wrong with our country today, sir/madam, not illegal immigration.

      February 29, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Robert

    All they have to do is release about 500 Florida crocodiles into that river and let them reproduce. Guaranteed that would put the illeagal crossings to an immediate and permanent halt.

    February 29, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Crocs would be cheaper than gunboats too. By a WIDE margin.

      February 29, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Billy

      Too bad the hippies would complain about the environmental impact, although their real concern would be the increased price of marijuana.

      February 29, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Legalize it, and then they won't complain.

      February 29, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joe

    Legalize weed already...

    February 29, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter


      February 29, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      Funny how the easiest (and best) solution still seems to evade our leadership.

      February 29, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. AJ USAF

    Alright Texas! I applaud you for taking the initiative to man up and handle your border issues.

    February 29, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. USN, RET

    Fair Winds and Following Seas (Currents), Please keep each of the troopers safe.

    February 29, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Live on the Rio Grande in El Paso

    Are you kidding me? At least 6 months out of the year there is NO Water in the Rio Grande, here in El Paso. You can walk across the river with dry shoes. That's all I have to say...Are you kidding me/

    February 29, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sparky

      He's right....I've been to El Paso. All you need to cross is a can of Scotch Guard

      February 29, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Conversly, Mexico's boats can't do it, either.
      Scotch Guard. Heh heh heh!

      February 29, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Roger

    And another group of taxpayers must fund more boys with toys.

    February 29, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Indeeds

      Not to be too much of a jerk, but the Texas state government can only borrow and tax based on specific bills put forward for popular vote in the state. It's actually billed out of saved and recovered funds from other voter approved measures. In short, it didn't really cost any extra.

      February 29, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. EB

    Cool, I'mm all for it. Now let's now tax all Western union type remittances to Mexico at 50% on the dollar, keeping the $$ that the hardworking, yet underground non- federal taxpaying, folks send back to prop up their POS country.

    February 29, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |


      February 29, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Matthew

    Lame article.

    February 29, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rick

    They could let Arizona borrow them once in awhile. The intire border with Mexico needs as much patroling as our government can supply, if they will? The problem is that the government is ignoring the problem.

    February 29, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Actually, the problem is it is a little hard to use a patrol boat in the Arizona desert, genius.

      February 29, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Yeah Rick, let's just set these boats up on the "river" that separates Mexico from Arizona and New Mexico. Great idea!

      February 29, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Upper Midwest

    Sorry to break it the the Texas A-Team but sending boats along the river is like sending a tank to bust up street corner sales. Leave it to Texas.

    February 29, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
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