Senator Lucio's Letterhead

PRESS RELEASE FROM SEN. EDDIE LUCIO, JR.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 3, 2011
CONTACT: Ben Wright, Communication Director
Phone: 512-463-0217

Senator Lucio Applauds Governor Perry for supporting Southbound Checkpoints

AUSTIN — According to articles in the press (http://tinyurl.com/5uudzn) Governor Perry, "has thrown his weight behind moves to have vehicles inspected for cash and weapons that aid Mexican drug cartels…Perry affirmed his support for southbound inspections on News Talk 710KURV on Thursday morning, the same day President Obama met with Mexican President Felipe Calderón at the White House.'

"I appreciate governor Perry for lending his support to the principle of southbound checkpoints," Senator Lucio said. "This is one piece of the puzzle in which Texas is doing its part to help curb the violence in Mexico."

As the author of SB 288, which would allow DPS to establish southbound checkpoints, Senator Lucio is looking forward to working with the Governor and various stakeholders on the issue. Senator Lucio has requested a hearing for SB 288 and is working on a committee substitute that takes into account some of DPS's recommendations.

"If we want to end drug violence, we need to establish southbound checkpoints," Sen. Lucio said. "They will be the catalyst in stopping the flow of guns, ammo, technology and cash going to Mexican cartels."

Drug violence in Mexico poses a homeland security risk to Texas, creates illicit business opportunities for homegrown criminal enterprises and fosters disquiet in Texas communities, particularly along the border. Research suggests that millions of dollars in bulk cash is shipped to Mexico each month. Houston is the number one source for illegally obtained guns being recovered in Mexico, with Dallas and the Rio Grande Valley being second and third, respectively.

Currently, the Department of Public Safety does not have the authority to operate checkpoints other than within 250 yards of an international border crossing and for the purpose of preventing stolen vehicles, farm tractors or implements, construction equipment, aircraft, or watercraft from entering Mexico.

SB 288 would authorize the Department of Public Safety, in cooperation with the federal government, to establish checkpoints. The purpose of the checkpoints would be limited to suspected violations of state law.

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