Starr Co. Sharing Intelligence, Skills with Tamaulipas
WESLACO - Cartel members work together despite the international boundary of the Rio Grande.
A Rio Grande Valley law enforcement agency is taking the same approach to combating organized crime.
From a distance, you can't tell them apart; they move in sync.
If you look close, you can see how their labels reveal a distinction “policia estatal” and police.
They're two teams divided by a river, joined by the same mission.
The difference is their experience.
"The people that we're working with right now have had close to 30 confrontations in the last few months," Commander Caples of the Starr County Special Crime Unit says.
Starr County Special Crimes Unit Commander Robert Caples arranged for this training with the Tamaulipas team under the Intelligence Center of Special Operations.
They're both relatively new units working special operations.
The director of the Tamaulipas group, Felix Arturo Rodriguez, says they take an in-depth approach by gathering intelligence ahead of combat.
"Our function is a little more profound, it's more analytical in finding the why, the where, the when and how. All those intelligence efforts are what allow us to have positive results," says Director Rodriguez.
This intelligence is shared with Commander Caples; it’s a mutual agreement.
"There is no red-tape between us," he admits.
"We share information in real time. It doesn't have to go through other channels."
Victor Canales, Starr County Attorney, is on the board governing the Special Crimes Unit.
He believes this kind of hands-on workshop helps the unit which serves the county as a special response team.
"In the event in any kind of kidnapping, or, God forbid, some sort of mass shooting, this is what we need," says Canales.
Even without the extra-ordinary situations, Commander Caples explains how the jurisdictions between local and international overlap in his region.
"We serve high-risk search warrants, we go after drug dealers, we have our small role in disrupting the cartels and their operations, and when we do that we need to be ready for any possibility," says Commander Caples.
The day ends with hypothetical scenarios; we can't show you exactly what they learned.
They don't want criminals to see this and anticipate their tactics.
They do have a message for those organizations whose routes weave through Tamaulipas and Starr County.
"Those are the same people that are operating on the north side," explains Commander Caples.
"So, if they're doing anything in Starr County, they can rest assured that Mexican law enforcement they know their whereabouts and they know what they're up to in Starr County, and vice versa."
For more information watch the video above.