Posted: Jul 10, 2012 3:39 PM
Updated: Jul 11, 2012 6:58 AM
RIO GRANDE CITY - Drug runners have devised a new way to keep police away from their loads.
False calls to the Rio Grande City police are taxing the department's resources and possibly placing the public in danger, officials said.
"They've used bomb threats, calling out fake accidents ... reckless driving ... suspicious vehicles and persons," Rio Grande Police Detective Jose Solis said. "They'll use those tactics to try to get us away."
Solis said the calls divert attention away from the smugglers' paths. He said the most common calls are to supposed accidents on the edges of the city.
"They'll try to distract us to go out there," Solis said. "Our main priority is to respond."
But police arrive on the supposed accident scene only to find out nothing happened.
"The first thing that comes to my mind is, ‘Why someone would do that,'" Solis said. "It's taking time off of our officers responding to actual emergencies."
Solis said it is a crime to call 911 services with a fake emergency, but he said there is little they can do to find the culprits.
"Especially with all of these technologies of Boost (type) phones," Solis said. "They're called throw-away phones, there's no way of tracing them. It's kind of hard to trace the calls that come in."
Solis said they are working on a plan to keep fake calls from diverting attention away from real emergencies, but he would not divulge the strategy.
"There are still calls coming in for other actual cases, so we'll clear them out as soon as possible," he said. "If it's a response that has our public in danger, it's our priority to get out there.
One of those fake calls happened this weekend. Police converged on the Rio Grande City-Camargo International Bridge in response to a bomb threat. No bomb was found. Police said the call may have come from smugglers looking for clear passage at the river - the same tactic used in the city.