Gov. Greg Abbott

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Gov. Abbott Awards $5.8 Mil To Prosecute Gang Members, Transnational Criminal Organizations

October 18, 2018 - 2:55 pm
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By Chris Fox, 1080 KRLD Austin Bureau Chief

AUSTIN (1080 KRLD) - Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced $5.8 million in grant funding for the Border Prosecution Unit to help crack down on gangs and Transnational Criminal Organizations along the Texas border.

The Unit is made up of 17 district and county attorney offices within the Texas border region that focus on investigating and prosecuting cases related to narcotics, weapons, human trafficking, organized crime, gangs, and other border-related offenses.

Nineteen BPU awards were released to District and County Attorneys in border communities across Texas.

Jaime Esparza is the El Paso District Attorney and the Project Director for the Border Prosecution Unit. He says the street gangs are extremely violent and they’re for-profit which makes them dangerous for our communities. He tips his hat to the Governor for the funding. “I’ve seen money funded for law enforcement because that’s kind of easy to do…because they carry the guns and the badges, but nobody really thinks about the back-end…the amount of work that’s going to come as a result of law enforcement being successful…we get those cases and we’ve got to move them through the criminal justice system.”

“Texas continues to invest in securing our southern border, and the Border Prosecution Unit is vital in helping investigate and prosecute the dangerous criminals that threaten our communities,” said Governor Abbott. “The BPU is an essential resource in the fight against some of the worst border-related offenses in our state, including gangs, violent crime and TCOs. This grant will allow Texas to get even more dangerous criminals off the streets, and I thank the BPU for their continued commitment to keeping our comminutes safe.”

The BPU works strategically with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and federal and local law-enforcement agencies in the investigation and prosecution of cross-border violence. Additionally, the BPU funds full time legal staffing within the Texas Anti-Gang Units (TAGs) in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, San Antonio, Houston, North Texas (Irving) and El Paso, and provides a dedicated Human Trafficking attorney at the San Antonio TAG. This year, BPU programs have reported 10,261 contact hours of training conducted and 3,574 cases filed.

The Border Prosecution Unit was established in 2009 by the 81st Legislature.