From the archives:
June 30, 2011
Authorities warn about Mexican cartel operations in Harris Co.
By: Samica Knight
Mexican drug cartels are expanding their illegal operations into Harris County. The sheriff and local lawmakers are expressing serious concerns about an escalation of violence in the Houston area.
Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia says we could see the same level of violence as Mexico if something isn't done to combat the cartels' expansion.
Authorities say they want the public to be aware that the Mexican drug cartels are here in Harris County and are becoming more advanced.
Congressman Michael McCaul, who is also the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, says he plans to go back to Washington to ask for more money for Harris County to fight against those dangerous cartels.
The Congressman and Sheriff Garcia have teamed up today, both discussing how cartel activity is spilling over into Harris County and influencing local gangs, increasing violence, human trafficking and drug trafficking. And the sheriff says through the influence of the Mexican drug cartels local gangs are becoming more sophisticated.
But both the Congressman and the sheriff said with cartel members targeting law enforcement like the murder of ICE agent Jaime Zapata and the shooting of an HPD officer last year, it's time to act to protect Harris County.
"The Zetas, which is probably the most brazen, most violent drug cartel out there, they're here. We know Gulf Cartel are operational here in Harris County and a lot of the others like La Familia, so not only are they here, but they are instrumental with the gangs here," said Congressman McCaul.
"We'll put their butts in jail. We don't want them in Harris County, we don't want them to bring harm, we don't want them to deteriorate our quality of life, and with the support and backing of Congressman McCaul, we're going to keep Harris County one of the safest counties in America," said Sheriff Garcia.
The sheriff says Harris County has some operations in place to prevent violence here, like working with Mexico to get better intelligence. The congressman says he wants to find federal dollars in Washington to help out.