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Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr.: District 27
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Press Release
December 21, 2010
Contact: Ben Wright, Communication Director
Senator Lucio Files Legislation Addressing Mexican Drug Cartels
Bills based on recommendations from the House Select Committee on Emergency Preparedness

AUSTIN, TX — Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. has filed two bills that address the intensification of drug violence in northern Mexico and its effects here in Texas.

"The drug war in Mexico affects Texas families, which is why it is our business to act," Senator Lucio said. "These bills will give the DPS new tools with which to combat cartel activity in Texas, while also making life harder for the cartels in Mexico."

Senate Bill 288 and Senate Bill 289 are companions to HB 48 and HB 47 respectively, filed by Representative Aaron Peña of Edinburg. Representative Peña is chair of the House Select Committee on Emergency Preparedness. The committee recently filed its interim report with the Speaker of the House. Both bills are recommendations of the committee report.

"I salute the excellent work that Chairman Peña and the committee have produced during the interim," Senator Lucio stated. "Their work will make Texas and particularly the Texas border a safer place."

SB 288 would enable the DPS to establish southbound checkpoints on roads leading to international bridges. The DPS would use these checkpoints to counter the alarming growth in smuggling from the United States to Mexico. The Rio Grande Guardian recently quoted a federal source stating that Mexico’s drug cartels collect more than $23 billion in illicit drug proceeds every year - much of it being smuggled back into Mexico as bulk cash shipments. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives estimates that about 90 percent of the weapons used in crimes in Mexico are smuggled from the United States (40% from Texas alone).

"We need to be honest about our role in the drug war and courageous in our response," Senator Lucio said. "American demand for drugs means profits for cartels. If we stem the flow of guns and money to Mexico, we can help bring peace back to our sister nation."

SB 289 would outlaw the sale, use, manufacture, transportation and repair of "Caltrops." Caltrops are tire deflation devices that are used by criminals in order evade capture by law enforcement personnel. Though rudimentary, the devices, shaped like three dimensional stars, rip through a vehicle's tires which can cause serious injuries to peace officers in pursuit of an offender. They have been used by criminals who are attempting to flee to Mexico after committing crimes in Texas.