TribBlog: DPS: We're Stopping the Bad Guys

The day after DPS warns parents that Mexican cartels are trying to recruit their kids to sell drugs, the agency issues a press release that says DPS efforts are pushing back drugs and preventing them from getting here.

The increased presence of law enforcement is driving Mexican traffickers and their dope back south of the border, the Texas Department of Public Safety announced in a press release today.

The release sends readers to two videos — filmed by officers in DPS helicopters — that show traffickers scurrying back across the Rio Grande with bales of marijuana after encountering police on the U.S. side. In one of the videos, the narcos drive a pot-filled truck straight into the river.

And DPS lists off stats for state, federal and local law enforcement during the 2008 to 2009 calendar year: seized some 2.9 million pounds of marijuana; made more than 20,000 drug arrests; referred 19,000 undocumented immigrants to U.S. Border Patrol.

"This effort has placed so much pressure on the DTOs’ (drug trafficking organizations') supply chains that drug smugglers can no longer afford to have their narcotics seized along the border, forcing them to attempt to recover the drugs and return them to Mexico," the press release says.

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I wondered what provoked this release. It didn't seem to coincide with any major law enforcement sting or rash of drug violence. So I called up the DPS press shop.

"There's no specific prompt," spokeswoman Lisa Block explained.

What about information to put the data in context, like the drug seizure and drug arrest numbers from the previous year or two, or data on increased drug prices that might show drugs have become more scarce? Nope.

Though the numbers are large and seem impressive, and the video footage is cool, without more data, it's hard to tell whether DPS and other agencies are doing a better job than they were before Gov. Rick Perry and the Legislature put more than $110 million into border efforts.

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