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The Brownsville Division remains at the doorstep of a tremendous drug and immigration crossroad that is heavily influenced by its location along the international border and proximity to the coastline.

Although the prosecution of the transportation and harboring of illegal aliens remains a priority for this division, added emphasis is also given to the prosecution of criminal aliens who have returned to the United States illegally after being previously removed. Special attention has been given to this problem to attack the issues associated with criminal recidivism at its source and the concerns associated with national security. These priorities along with higher penalties and stronger enforcement efforts have often caused the dockets to swell along the border.

The same influences that drive the immigration side of the docket also impact the narcotics side of the prosecution equation. Whether through one of the ports of entry, the riverbank or along the coast, the criminal element uses every avenue as a means of circumventing detection. Authorities continue to make large seizures of marijuana, cocaine, meth and heroin. There has also been an increase in the seizure of fentanyl in our division. For the time being, the violence attributed to ongoing Mexican government efforts to deal with the cartels has remained in Mexico with limited spill-over to our side. Nonetheless, all law enforcement in the area is acutely aware of the dangers and concerns associated with the conflict just across the Rio Grande River.

While at times reactive-type cases drive the work, this division also demonstrates diligent effort along with partner agencies on long-term investigations. These are directed at dismantling large scale immigration and narcotics organizations in the area, including going after their assets through asset forfeiture and money laundering prosecutions. Indictments against members of the Gulf Cartel remain active in the docket. Multi-agency cooperation along all these fronts is what has allowed for the successful prosecution of these types of individuals and others like them. Large scale fraud investigations associated with health care have also been on the increase and vigorously prosecuted. Public integrity/corruption violations are also a high priority with long-term investigations and successful prosecutions against corrupt law enforcement and public officials.

Finally, the division had directed emphasis at attacking those involved in the distribution, receipt and production of child pornography. As a means of educating the public, the office has become involved in doing presentations on the concerns with internet safety for schools and the public in general. Extensive cooperation is involved between this office and its partner law enforcement agencies from the federal, state and local level as part of the Rio Grande Valley Child Exploitative Investigative Task Force.

In conjunction with the national initiative and under Project Safe Neighborhoods, gun prosecutions are also a regular part of this division. The gun initiative is primarily directed at the scam or straw purchases who then export the weapons and ammunition to the Republic of Mexico and into the hands of the drug cartels, fueling the problems Mexican law enforcement faces. Felons in possession of weapons, aliens in possession and the use of firearms in the commission of a violent crime or narcotic offense are also targeted.

The continued emphasis on the fight against terrorism through the efforts of the JTTF is being diligently pursued in cooperation with various federal, state and local law enforcement agencies under the auspices of ATAC. The networking and cooperation amongst its members from all levels of law enforcement have been a model throughout the district.

Updated March 6, 2024