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. LJ Burgess

    LoLz @ Texas...again.

    March 1, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. sledgehammer

    More wasted money that won't help a thing.

    America does not have an immigration problem. Mexico's has the problems. You don't see gun boats and big fences on the borders to Canada. Why? Because Canada doesn't suk. Mexico sux, and until Mexico becomes where it doesn't suk, IE. it's citizens can get jobs and raise their families without having to worry about getting gunned down on the street, Mexico will continue to have it's citizens flee to our country.

    We can only slow the progress of fleeing, we can never stop it. We need to pull our troops from overseas and move them into Mexico. If we can make Mexico where it doesn't suck anymore, our supposedly immigration problem will go away.

    March 1, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ron

      Purchases were made using confiscated drug money btw. No public or tax money used.

      March 2, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • fandancy

      Mexico is left having to deal with a lot of problems due to our insatiable desire for illegal drugs.

      March 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Texmex

      Mexicans are having presidential elections this year and the candidate most likely to win is saying that he will stop the drug war because it's not in Mexico's best interests to fight a war to stop the drugs going to America.He is even talking about legalization.So we better treat Mexicans with respect if we want them to keep fighting this one for us because if we don't soon we might be fighting the cartels here in American soil. I completely agree with sledge hammer it's in Americas best interests to strengthen our neighbors we gotta work to liberate Mexicans from their ignorance we gotta expand the market make them part of our economy, they have free trade agreements with countries we don't, we can't keep ridding alone we need partners if we don't want to be left out in the cold, just look at the Europeans, and the Arabs, and the Asians, they're uniting.

      March 2, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. OakhillJoe

    I'm a Democrat but I'm with Ron Paul on this one. If you legalize drugs it removes the legal risk out of moving drugs, which in turn removes the huge profit margin for successful smuggling. If there is no more profit, then there is no more territory to defend, no more violence, no need to have Vietnam boats in Texas. This would also remove the tremendous cost for drugs, and therefore removes the need for an addict to break into your house and steal, or rob you in the street. Is the war on drugs about protecting our society from them, or is it now more about feeding the police state and prison industrial complex that depends on a war to profit? Would you rather have legal drugs and have to deal with some abusers, or would you rather have warfare in your backyard? I'd rather pay for drug education and treatment and have a world of non-violence, then have to pay for boats and helicopters and be afraid when I walk down the street. Cost/benefit folks!

    March 2, 2012 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Billy

      As much as I hate the damage that drugs do to an individual I'm not sure that the illegality of drugs doesn't do more damage to socity as a whole than the drugs themselves. I'm not sure what the answer is but I'm pretty sure the "war on drugs" is not working, and this is coming from someone who is otherwise very conservative.

      May 30, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Cowcharge

    Cool boat.

    March 2, 2012 at 3:09 am | Report abuse |
  5. Big Cat Daddy

    Who knew this was coming?.........(whispering....neatly tucked into the sides of ths boat are a few fishing poles to reel in the larger fish that swim the Rio Grande'....know what I mean y'all?)...I'm just sayin'.......

    March 2, 2012 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
  6. steverkiefer

    Maybe they might find some German u- boats while the're at it!!!

    March 2, 2012 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  7. steverkiefer

    Maybe They'll find some German u-boats while they're at it!!!

    March 2, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
  8. Americal70

    nice targets. cant chase anyone, can't shoot into Mexico. maybe some druggie will invent some kind of explosive water weapon.

    March 2, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  9. Dave O

    Fill the river with crocs, that should calm things down and you don't have to feed 300 HP motors cause they will work for free.

    March 2, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Festerfree

    This is not about illegal immigration. Read the article. It's about drug smuggling, and no, this will not stop it. Totally stupid, rooster behavior. Let's pump up our chests, and strut around in our boats while the drug cartels merely find another way in. THE DRUG WAR IS A FAILURE and a COMPLETE WASTE OF MONEY. Why, after 100 years and billions of $s, can we not wake up and see that? Oh yeah, because the people that run the country and think of this insane stuff are complete idiots.

    March 2, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike Wiggins

      @Festerfree: So, let me get this straight. You say "This is not about illegal immigration. Read the article. It's about drug smuggling, and no, this will not stop it." Does this mean we should do NOTHING to stop it? Hmmm?

      I agree with you that there are far too many Americans that love their illegal drugs and are the prime reason we have police and other law enforcement persons being killed. But that doesn't mean we should tolerate these black market activities and allow them free reign wherever they walk. States like Texas have the right (and the responsibility, I might argue) to protect their citizenry.

      Go Texas!! Give 'em hell!!

      March 2, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Robert

    Wouldn't it be a lot CHEAPER just to release a truckload of crocodiles in that river? The illegal crossings would stop immediately. Besides, crocs would be on duty 24 hours a day.

    March 2, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert Kantthingwell

      No, it is obvious to anybody with a brain why releasing crocodiles would be a bad idea.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bill

    Are these boats going to actually go after smugglers, or just write tickets to US boaters for every minor infraction they can think of? After all, it is the Highway Patrol.

    March 2, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Desert1

    This country was built on fact that we do not run from a fight which mostly have not been on our soil,things have changed enemies are different and we are under attack by the flood of violence,drugs and criminals coming from Mexico,we need to secure our border and I truly mean secure them,I am not saying to keep everyone out just let everyone that wants to come come legally.we need to protect Americans along our border who fear for their lives everyday,this is USA we should not be affraid when it can be stopped,we throw or waste enough money overseas that could be used here in this country some of which on our border problem,our military could train along the border and resources should be given to law enforcement there and I mean really give them what they need.There are prior military service out of work who have the skills we need,they are already trained so lets hire them back and put them on the border.Come on people its time to stop the violence and drugs that treaten us from mexico

    March 2, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mimi

    Isn't this a job for the Coast Guard? They already patrol the St. Lawrence River (a hotbed of pot, cigarette, and immigrant smuggling), the Great Lakes, and Lake Champlain.

    March 2, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Will

    I find it funny that the people opposed never lived in a border town. This I think can be a good thing. A little known fact is that Mexicans are NOT the only nationality trying to cross over the American / Mexico border. They have caught many middle eastern people doing the same thing which in my opinion is a credible threat to national security. While Washington is doing very little to confront this threat, Texas is taking a proactive stance to prevent further loss of life in border towns which by the way are flooded with violence from cartels by employing DPS to maintain safety and security.

    The drug war by in large is a losing war, but have anyone of you had to treat a patient with excited delirium due to PCP overdose?

    March 3, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
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