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DPS: Border surge yields $107 million in drug seizures

Report shows decline in most drug seizures along the border

SAN ANTONIO

Five months into Gov. Rick Perry's call for a border surge by the Texas Department of Public Safety, the agency's latest update shows more than $107 million in illegal drugs seized during Operation Strong Safety in the Rio Grande Valley.

The governor called for the effort in June to help local law enforcement and U.S. Border Patrol overwhelmed by a different surge -- that of Central American children and families entering the country illegally.

A report is due before the Texas Legislature next year on the effectiveness of Operation Strong Safety, an initiative that is estimated to cost Texas taxpayers $1.3 million a week.  

Also, the first of 1,000 Texas National Guard troops arrived in South Texas last September to assist DPS with detecting and deterring illegal activity.

However, drugs found along the state's 1,200-mile border with Mexico decreased, according to the Texas Border Security Dashboard, a compilation of figures released by DPS.

It shows the smuggling of heroin fell by 53 percent, cocaine by 51 percent and marijuana by 31 percent. Only the amount of methamphetamine increased, by 25 percent.

Tom Vinger, DPS spokesperson, said the year is not over yet, so those numbers could still change.

Vinger also said, "Fluctuations have historically occurred in various categories of illegal contraband."

Also included in the DPS report was the number of apprehensions by U.S. Border Patrol.

The number of immigrants from countries other than Mexico had a 38 percent increase, plus the 103 percent jump in the number of unaccompanied minors at the border.