Senator Tommy Williams
P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0104

March 26, 2009
Contact: 512-463-0104

Senator Tommy Williams Takes Aim at Guns and Money Used to Supply Drug Cartels
Bill makes trafficking illegal currency and firearms a 2nd degree felony

AUSTIN, TX – State Senator Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands) has introduced SB 2195 the Southbound International Bridge Bill to choke the lifeblood of supplies equipping the Mexican drug cartels. The bill is designed to cut the flow of illegal firearms and money crossing international bridges along the Texas-Mexico border.

"Drugs flow north across our border while guns and money flow south," said Williams. "These international bridges are natural choke points in the flow of guns and money into Mexico. If we can disrupt this flow, we can disrupt the ongoing operations of dangerous transnational gangs."

SB 2195 increases the penalties for unlawfully carrying weapons across the border, unauthorized use of another personís motor vehicle while crossing an international border, and transporting prohibited weapons and harboring a fugitive with the intent to cross an international boundary. The bill makes these offenses a 2nd degree felony.

"The violence and crime associated with these drug cartels is spreading north," Williams said. "The time to fix this problem is now."

The new bill would also make knowingly concealing and transporting currency in excess of $10,000 on an international bridge a 2nd degree felony charge. Currently, there is no criminal punishment in state law for the unlawful transportation of currency.

A 2nd degree felony charge carries with it a prison sentence not less than 2 years and not to exceed 20 years and a possible fine not to exceed $10,000.

Senator Williams represents Senate District 4 covering all or portions of Jefferson, Orange, Chambers, Liberty, Harris and Montgomery Counties. Williams serves as Chairman of the Senate Administration Committee and as a member of the Finance, Education and International Relations & Trade.