The Texas Department of Public Safety released images this week showing individuals walk across the southern border at night — in many cases carrying drugs or firearms.
The pictures were captured by a network of motion-detection cameras placed on the Texas-Mexico border as part of a program in collaboration with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection called Operation Drawbridge.
Authorities say the program was responsible for more than 29,300 apprehensions and the seizure of 88,400 pounds of drugs in 2014.
"These results represent a significant impact in the effort to combat Mexican cartel smuggling operations," the Texas DPS said in a statement.
Authorities in Texas say they don't have the manpower to blanket the entire southern border with personal. Instead, they rely on Operation Drawbridge cameras to alert them to individuals crossing the border. Law enforcement is then deployed to the scene.
“Every day, sheriff’s deputies, police officers, Border Patrol agents and state law enforcement officers in the Texas border region risk their lives to protect Texas and the entire nation from Mexican cartels and transnational crime,” Texas DPS director Steven McCraw said. “This innovative use of technology has proven to be a force multiplier in detecting the smuggling attempts along the border, which is critical to interdicting criminal activity occurring between the ports of entry.”
Images released by the Texas DPS show groups of individuals crossing the border. Texas DPS highlighted some who were armed with high-powered firearms as they crossed.
“Any time law enforcement interdicts a smuggling attempt, we consider it a significant gain in the fight against the cartels and their operatives,’ McCraw said. “The collaborative law enforcement efforts of Operation Drawbridge have bolstered our ability to combat the exploitation of our border by these ruthless criminals.”
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