The Lone Star State already has a wall along its border with Mexico. Some 650 miles of a barrier exist. The Mexicans call it a “muro” and the Texans on the other side call it a fence. In the area around the El Paso-Juarez border, the fencing ranges from corrugated metal to metal mesh sunk as much as 6 feet underground.
Next to the shadow of that ‘muro’ stands Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar, who overlooks the mighty roaring Rio Grande. On the other side of the river he can see Nuevo Laredo. Mr Cuellar has a message for President Trump.
“With all due respect, President Trump, but your wall ain’t gonna work here. All my life, I’ve followed the smugglers, know their routes, their strategies, the way they work. We have the solutions. We’re the first-responders.” Mr Cuellar calls for a combination of boots on the ground and technology (night-vision camera equipped drones) to be used to grind out the smugglers, saying that a wall will not stop them.
He should know, having been sheriff for the past nine years now.
Mr Cuellar is seeking for $92 million in funding over five years for what he calls Operation Border SMART (Strategic Mobile And Response Team), which consists of a virtual wall that uses technology and boots on the ground as an alternative to an actual wall. If operated, the virtual wall would then extend about 300 miles from Starr County in South Texas all the way to Del Rio and be supported by drones patrolling (according to an adjustable computer algorithm) from point A to B.
Mr Cuellar’s idea is endorsed by business leaders and law enforcement officials on both sides of the Mexican - US border. Even Republican Representative Mr Will Hurd of San Antonio has praised the idea of a “smart wall” to counter sophisticated drug traffickers armed with technology and has proposed bipartisan legislation to congress.
Mr Hurd who represents the district that stretches from east El Paso all the way to San Antonio said: “We need a smart wall to solve our 21st-century problems. A wall is an outdated, 19th-century approach that doesn’t work anymore.”
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Police authorities in Winters arrested a couple that’s believed to be from Austin with more than 200 pounds of Marijuana. The two were arrested on Monday and they’re currently locked up in the Runnels County Jail.
The authorities managed to arrest the two following a traffic stop that was being conducted by Winters police. Reports from police indicate that 55-year-old Leonardo Castillo and 21-year-old Roxanne Gomez of Austin were traveling on Highway 153 before they were pulled over for over-speeding. The couple was driving at 80mph at a 60mph zone.
A K-9 unit known as Phobos, was called to the scene and alerted the police to the presence of drugs.
The police found five large duffel bags containing 234 pounds of marijuana. The estimated street value of the marijuana is about $600,000, as pointed out by Sergeant. John Mills. However, they're still working to determine where the drug was sourced and where it was being transported to.
Winters Police Department sergeant. John Mills said that the two have been identified as Roxanne Gomez, 21, and Leonard Castillo, 55, they were both charged with second-degree felony on possession of marijuana. They remained jailed Tuesday on bonds of $150,000 each.
The arrest was made amidst after the Dallas County commissioners passed a “cite and release” program that’s aimed at freeing cops so that they can focus on violent crimes. This means that people caught with small amounts of marijuana in Dallas won't be taken straight to jail.
A heated debate saw commissioners vote 4-1 to allow Dallas police to issue a court summons to individuals with less than 4 ounces of pot. Although laws decriminalizing marijuana or legalizing it have swept across the country, they remain a political long shot in Texas.
That’s not the case with some cities — including Austin, San Antonio and Houston — which have taken advantage of a 2007 law that allowed law enforcement to cite and release defendants accused of certain misdemeanors including marijuana possession.