Law Enforcement Cracking Down on Gangs

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MCALLEN - State and local law enforcement broke ground on a new anti-gang center Saturday.

The Texas Transnational Intelligence Center will be located at the old McAllen police headquarters. Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said the center is crucial.

"Going after gangs in the Rio Grande Valley improves the safety and security for the citizens. They also do have a disproportionate amount of recruitment of our children into these gangs. They're gateway criminal organizations," McCraw said.

McCraw talked about the link between Mexican drug cartels and gangs. "Texas Chicano Brotherhood is the smuggling infrastructure in Starr County for the Gulf Cartel. So why wouldn't we target that? You need to secure the border, but you also need to degrade the smuggling infrastructure," McCraw said. "They're the ones that operate the stash houses. They're the ones involved in home invasions. Those are the things that undermine public safety."

McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez said the idea for this new building is simple - having everyone together in one place makes it easier to work as a group and go after the criminals. He added he sees the gang violence in the Valley over and over. "The bodies you find in the fields... the bodies you find burned, that's the violence. ... That's the threat that we face down here," he said.

The Texas anti-gang program is currently housed at DPS. Officials hope to have this new building up and running by August.


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