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. Joe Taylor

    Having a hard time imagining that a more thoughtful and dedicated drug cartel wouldn't have or have ready access to the hardware to take out the boats from a fair distance. I bet the boats are going to be in a lot of photo ops though.

    February 29, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bobcat (in a hat) ©

    They've got Texas Highway Patrol emblazoned ont the side of that boat. Are these a dual purpose vehicle.
    Probably going to turn out like McHales Navy.

    February 29, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Hi

    Wolves and jaguars reintroduced that are addicted to cocaine and meth? boiling the rio grande? A fence made out of lazers? Human hunting licenses? Land mines? Fresh water sharks addicted to cocaine and meth? Sounds just as stupid, doesnt it.

    February 29, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Innkahoots

    What, no rocket launchers, no torpedoes? Sounds kinda lame for a navy ship, but I'll bet they are great to ski behind. And one more thing Texas, It shouldn't be called highway patrol. It should be RIVER patrol. Other than that I Want One.

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


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

    Let me see. In every other country military protects the border. They have border military troops but US has a law that prohibits military from doing so. The who should protect the border? This is just bewildering. It is a good thing our neighbours are not very agressive. Imagine if we had China on our border or Colombia, then what?

    February 29, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Taylor

      In response to your query, "Who should patrol the border?" There happens to be a federal organization called the Border Patrol that does just that. In fact, they've deployed more officers to the southern border since the current administration took office, and have deported more people than ever before in the past 3 years.

      February 29, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • ES

      > In response to your query, "Who should patrol the border?" There happens to be a federal organization called the Border Patrol that does just that.

      OK. And so, border patrol is not patrolling Rio Grande ? Isn't it a large part of texas border with Mexico.

      February 29, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. William Johnson

    I hope those boats have wheels on the bottom, from what I have seen of the Rio Grande in summer you can walk across it.

    February 29, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Alejandro Martinez

    Message to Texans: The "Rio Grande" or "Rio Bravo" is a joint international boundary. It limits both countries and nor Texans, nor Americans in general haver jurisdiction over the river. At most, would have over 50% of it, so it will be interesting the upcoming discussion on invasion of territory that derives from this action. You have very good lawyers, please use them first to study the international implications of your actions. Expect a very formal and very tough response from the Mexican Government. I understand the issue of security, drug smuggling, trespassing, and the likes. We all agree it is not correct, nor legal and immigration issues in general should be resolved asap in the benefit of both of our countries. But unilateral actions from an individual state, and in particular from Texas, just brings mexicans remembrances of previous land occupation by Mr. Houston and Co. and that, is not good for anyone.

    February 29, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Howdydoody

      Mexico isn't going to do anything about it. I'm sure you have selective memory, but Mexican Military units have been seen operating on US soil and in our airspace many times. Are they going to shoot at our law enforcement people now too?

      February 29, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ayala

    Since the Federal Government does not have the guts to enforce the border, Texans will! GOD BLESS TEXAS1

    February 29, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. buccakenji

    Careful. The DOJ might sue to stop enforcing immigration laws. And Oba ma will open his mouth and spew more bul lsh it. What a great country. . . . . .

    February 29, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |


    February 29, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. scheduler

    We in Texas have to do something. Just across our borders is a war zone. Native Mexicans now maturalized have quit visiting residents in Mexico. Its bad. And just so you guys know, you all need our natural resources, refineries, factories, ect. We produce a lot for the rest of the counry, 23% of the US oil production.

    February 29, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Smart Human

    Good lord! It's going to be a blood bath of vigilante justice!

    February 29, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Hop

    I dont like peoples assumptions that just because I am "for" a wall between mexico and America I am somehow a racist and against immigration.

    February 29, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • J.Mac

      I agree. I fully support legal immigration for all people from our world. I am opposed to illegal immigration no matter what country they come from.

      February 29, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hop

      I constantly voice this opinion that I love people from all countries coming here but to do it the right way otherwise it creates resentment and mayhem. I know people say but they will die blah blah but i guarantee a lot wouldnt and the problems are just shifting north.

      February 29, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "On The Lunatic Fringe"

    Who will lead the fleet? Of course: Capt. Binghamton; Ensign Parker; Officer McHale; Gunnerey 1st mate Fuji

    February 29, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
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