Posted: Mar 1, 2012 7:30 PM
Updated: Mar 1, 2012 6:46 PM
MCALLEN - A high-tech map is tracking the cartels as they move across Texas.
The map moves; it has real-time information about drugs and guns, cartels and violence. Texas Homeland Security Chief Steve McCraw showed lawmakers how it works at a border security hearing in McAllen on Thursday. It's a map local law enforcement would love to get their hands on, but they can't.
Every red line on the map is a cartel route. The Texas Department of Public Safety knows six cartels are operating in Texas, and another one, the Arrelano Felix organization, may be moving in. This software is the real-time intelligence DPS is getting from every corner of the state.
"We built this to serve as a fusion capability across the state," says McCraw.
McCraw says this intelligence helped the state put more equipment on the ground to fight the cartels, including six new gun boats. Two are already on the river; the other four will be deployed in the next few months.
The newest helicopter designed to do battle with the cartels is in the air. A new high-altitude aircraft, like a drone, is on its way in the next few months.
McCraw says the map will be available to all law enforcement when there's sufficient resources but wouldn't speculate on when that could be.
McCraw came to the state's border security committee hearing in McAllen to tell lawmakers how agencies are sharing intelligence information across the state. He says the map could connect the dots. It won't be cheap.
"Our goal is all agencies can have access to that map," says McCraw.
Until that happens, only DPS can log into this site to track and follow the cartels' routes from Mexico to the Valley across the country.
McCraw also told lawmakers DPS is seeing a huge number of drugs going through our border in the last few years. The cartels pushed 109 percent more marijuana, 269% more meth and 648% more heroin through 59 border counties.