While Americans are being told by the federal government not to worry about the bloody carnage going on just miles from the U.S. border, Texas law enforcement is rolling out 34-foot gunboats to patrol the Rio Grande River in an attempt to keep Mexico's drug cartels at bay and combat spillover violence, FoxNews.com reports.
No matter how you spin it, there is a war going on just south of the border -- one that has claimed roughly 56,000 lives in just five years. And the narrow Rio Grande is all that separates Texas from Mexico at certain points, making it a favorite route of smugglers of guns, drugs and/or people. In fact, the river is thin enough that you could literally swim from one side to another in just a matter of minutes. That was then.
The Texas Department of Public Safety is pushing back in a serious way. They have commissioned four new "shallow water interceptors," which are now cruising along the river, and two more are on the way. Their job is to combat the increase in smuggling activity occurring through the Gulf of Mexico.
The $558,000 vessels are equipped with bullet-proof panels, 900-horsepower engines and fully automatic machine guns that can fire 900 rounds-per-minute. In other words, these gunboats aren't just for show.
Take a look at the gunboats out on the water, courtesy of Fox News:
"If we get into an ambush situation, our No. 1 priority is to get out of harm’s way,"said Lt. Charlie Goble of the Texas Highway Patrol’s Tactical Marine Unit. “It’s very important for us to be better armed than they are."
A total of six "shallow water interceptors" will cost roughly $3.3 million at $558,000 each. They are being paid for with funds set aside by the Texas Legislature as well as grants from the Department of Homeland Security, however, this is one spending splurge tax payers may not have a problem with.
Maj. Bob Bailey of the Texas Highway Patrol's Special Ops Division told Fox News the boats would be another tool for law enforcement on top of ground units, helicopters and various weapons being used to battle the ruthless cartels who seem to always find a way to get their product into the United States. He says the cartels have access to "unlimited" funds and firepower.
"Machine guns on the ground are one thing," said Bailey. "This is just another asset to be in those remote areas where the cartels exploit our border, our river, our citizens."