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. Mac805

    Can y'all say, WASTE OF MONEY??? Good thing Rick Perry doesn't have a big enough backing to be president.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      There ARE worse things that the money could be spent on. I'm all for protection of our borders. Honestly I'm tired of paying for other people's health care when I can't even afford my own. If they (illegal immigrants) payed taxes it would be less of a problem. But they don't. How can they? No SSN. And they don't even use the money they make working here to "stimulate the economy". In many cases, they ship it back home to Mexico, to support their families. Not that supporting your family is wrong, but do it on your on country's dime. If the reason you can't afford healthcare is that you're giving away your money, then you shouldn't be giving it away.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      We should hire Immigrants to dig a canal between our two countries.
      How long did panama take again,and how long would this one take,accounting for modern tech?

      March 1, 2012 at 2:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. socali

    my car was hit by an illegal immigrant who had fake papers which enabled him to get car insurance. regardless to say, his insurance denied my claim because he lied about what happened. Maybe it is a good thing to stop illegals from coming to this country and messing with citizens!

    March 1, 2012 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Howard

      Duh, did you read this article at all??? It says nothing about illegal immigrants. Are you sure your insurance claim wasn't denied because they thought you were d*mb enough to fall for it?

      March 1, 2012 at 2:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Patiat

      "Regardless to say"??? What does that even mean?

      March 1, 2012 at 2:51 am | Report abuse |
    • aviator

      Uh, Howard, the article said "...drug smuggling...". Are you saying the smugglers are "legal" aliens?

      March 1, 2012 at 4:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. Robert

    This is stupid. Kind of like putting tape to fix a hole in a dike! What's worse, a state...A STATE...is protecting the international border. I would love to hear where any other state is trying to protect their border like this! Look, solving the problem is simple....legalize the drugs, empty out the prisons of non-violent drug offenders, take MASSIVE savings in tax dollars by doing this and put it towards drug treatment programs. We'll all be better served, and taxes will go down.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Miller

      " I would love to hear where any other state is trying to protect their border like this! " no other state has a border like this. figure it out. that or stay out of Texas. that way you don't have to pay for it as DPS is a state funded enforcement arm. we charge a sales tax, no personal income tax.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:39 am | Report abuse |
  4. Coach Lew

    Lets give Texas a huge hand. It's about time individual states try to take control of the illegal immigration. Now how about New Mexico, Arizona and California. When are your states going to man up?

    March 1, 2012 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Reality Checker

      Should each of the states create their own Army too?

      March 1, 2012 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
    • UhYeaOk

      Yes RealityCheck, they should. If Texas hadn't done this you can rest assured that the idiot in office now sure as h ell won't.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
    • eville_11

      Hey Reality; you do know of the Nat'l Guard right....

      March 1, 2012 at 3:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Reality Checker

      @eville_11: Great point. You do realize that the NATIONAL Guard is a dual State-Federal force? Although I guess each state's governor has the ability to call up the guard for emergency, so perhaps this is the answer to the borders?

      Although no mention is made of illegal immigrants in the article, the implication is that's what these gunboats are for, at least in the eyes of many posting here. Not much mention is made by posters of the "Drug War" they are supposed to fight.

      But I like that people like you speak out to insure information is accurate. I respect that, and those who ask questions, think for themselves, and make rational decisions.

      March 1, 2012 at 4:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Reality Checker

      @UhYeaOk: What about the 43 previous presidents? What about the Canadian border, which is by far much more vulnerable to a terrorist walking into the US. Or are you just concerned about illegal workers?

      March 1, 2012 at 5:02 am | Report abuse |
  5. Chicago Paul

    Every person born in America is a citizen. Let us not foget that the first pilgrims were also illegal aliens in America but they believed in the land of the free, in a great immigrant nation..

    March 1, 2012 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Randy

      The 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments known as the Civil War Amendments or the Reconstruction Amendments were intended to right some of the wrongs imposed on former slaves, including citizenship for children of parents born in Africa–these amendments were not intended to create illegal alien anchor babies.

      March 1, 2012 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Earnan

      I'm tired of this "everyone was an illegal alien" horsecrap.

      Our ancestors created a country and passed laws. Illegal aliens are breaking those laws.

      You may not like those laws, but in that case there is a mechanism to change those laws. But you want to simply ignore the laws you don't care for, and impose your personal desires over the rights of the majority of the citizens.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:26 am | Report abuse |
    • eville_11

      Most European countries have done away with that born here – auto citizen stuff... just saying, and they have been around the block with immigration for longer than our measly 200+ yrs.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:36 am | Report abuse |
  6. Chicago Paul

    Racism and discrimination are the result of ignorance

    March 1, 2012 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Miller

      illegal immigration is NOT a race issue. it is a legality issue. i've been through the process with my wife. if an immigrant wants to do the paperwork, spend the money for filing fees, deal with the interview and all the rest, like we did, welcome to America. otherwise, stay home.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Earnan

      "Chicago Paul" grasps at the "racism" and "ignorance" straws because he has no facts or logic on his side.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:27 am | Report abuse |
  7. Dandy

    Now they could have just bought SUVs to drive along the river banks but this will be much more effective... how??

    Drive a 34 foot boat in 2 feet of water and see how long those outboards last bouncing off the rocks.

    You will have 34 feet of junk in no time.

    Rick Perry thought of this didn't he?? I bet Sara Palin was involved also??

    March 1, 2012 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
    • aviator

      Hey Jim Dandy. They're JET DRIVES, not prop lower units! And, the hull (boat) doesn't draw over a foot of H2O.

      March 1, 2012 at 4:55 am | Report abuse |
  8. MW

    A couple of questions here. The first being, is that boat even capable of navigating the RIo Grande? According to the article it only has a two foot draft, but it looks to me like a boat with a deep v-hull and 900hp worth of engines would need much more than two feet of water to operate properly. As I understand it the portion of the Rio Grande that separates Texas and Mexico serves as a natural border between the two. If that is true doesn't the operation of heavily armed gunboats along the river (assuming that they can navigate it) run into some serious potential for international incidents.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
    • eville_11

      There has already been several international incidents, I dunno, digging tunnels under the border, smuggling people and drugs into the country, whatever.... a couple gunboats in the Rio ( the depth and maneuverability is a good point.) Isn't going to change much. makes a hell of a authorial presence, but in the end.... hmmmm.. they'll walk/run across thank you.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeremy

      Since the stated purpose is to stop the drug trade Mexico is going along with this. They really don't have a choice because the cartels have crippled the nation of Mexico. There is little if any security there. Violence in this drug-war has started to spread over here. A nation does have the right to protect itself, and I'll admit that concept is thrown around too much to justify many wars that shouldn't be justified. However, when you consider that the violent and deadly action of these cartels have started to affect the United States of America and its citizens, the right to take military action or some action in that form must be considered.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Earnan

      You mean "international incidents" like Mexican Army soldiers carrying loaded weapons wandering around on the US side of the border? "Lost" or "off course" in spite of the latest GPS gear?

      March 1, 2012 at 3:29 am | Report abuse |
  9. ignant

    Everyone should watch South Park's "Last of The Meheecans", you wont regret the decision.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
  10. Sonic10158

    Dont those dumb texans know that the democrats are right, illegal immigrants are a higher priority than actual legal citizens

    March 1, 2012 at 2:17 am | Report abuse |
  11. clearfog

    What happened in the last war that these boats were used?

    March 1, 2012 at 2:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Earnan

      Liberals said "this war is unwinnable" and cut all funding to make sure it would be lost, then abandoned millions of people to slavery and death at the hands of a criminal regime.

      Guess Texas doesn't want to end up like South Vietnam. Can you blame them?

      March 1, 2012 at 3:31 am | Report abuse |
  12. toadears

    FINALLY protecting the right borders. OURS!

    March 1, 2012 at 2:42 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jimmy Crack Corn

    The Federal Government is not going to like this. They're researching a law now that makes this illegal.

    March 1, 2012 at 3:26 am | Report abuse |
  14. eville_11

    Put Kerry in one...

    March 1, 2012 at 3:37 am | Report abuse |
  15. Valorie

    Texas doesn't do much right these days, but this is a late, but great idea. People, don't forget the young man who was shot in the head and killed on Falcon Lake by drug runners. The Mexican officer put in charge on his side was decapitated. Mexico is an extremely dangerous place and it keeps getting worse. I don't see it getting any better until the US decriminalizes drugs or puts troops on the ground over there. Mexico needs our help-one way or another. If we can get these guys who hang out in caves on the other side of the planet, we certainly should be able to get these murderers in gold chains who do their thuggn at our gate.

    March 1, 2012 at 3:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Uncle Toad

      How about Americans becoming responsible and giving up drugs? Oh, wait, we are never responsible, and we just blame others. Mexico's drug problem is due to the selfishness of American drug users and ENABLERS like you. Time to treat them, get them off, and destroy demand. If you think the criminals are going to give up their profits because it's "legal", you're dreaming. Where else is it going to come from? It's not like prohibition where we had alcohol capability right here...

      March 1, 2012 at 5:23 am | Report abuse |
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