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Carrick Cook

Officer Carrick R. Cook is the Public Information Officer for the Arizona Department of Public Safety and a former motor officer with that agency.

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Doug Wyllie

Doug Wyllie has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips aimed at ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

Texas DPS Patrol Boats Armed for Cartel Threats

Texas DPS patrol boats armed with fully auto machine guns patrol cartel smuggling areas at the Rio Grande River.

May 17, 2012  |  by

Photo: Texas DPS
Photo: Texas DPS

To prepare its troopers for possible engangements with Mexican drug cartel soldiers and their military-grade weaponry, the Texas Department of Public Safety set up a Tactical Marine Unit with three armed vessels to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border splitting the Rio Grande River and Falcon Lake.

In December, Texas DPS commissioned the first boat in the newly formed unit. Additional 34-foot patrol boats were added in March and April to the 40-trooper unit tasked with enforcement on the river and Intracoastal Waterway.

"The Tactical Marine Unit and the patrol vessels represent a significant enhancement of the state's efforts in combating Mexican drug cartels and other criminal organizations that transport illegal drugs into Texas and a variety of weapons, explosives, and munitions out of our state into Mexico," according to a release from the agency. "They will be used to impact so-called splashdowns, where drug smugglers crash their vehicles into the Rio Grande River and transport contraband back into Mexico."

The black-and-white patrol vessels are equipped with fully automatic weapons, ballistic shielding, and night vision capabilities.

Each boat arrives with six FN M240B medium machine guns chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO. Each vessel is powered by three 300-hp outboard motors.

Photo: Texas DPS
Photo: Texas DPS

The latest vessel was commissioned on April 11 in Port O'Connor and named in honor of the late trooper Bill Davidson—20 years after he was fatally shot in the line of duty during a traffic stop in Jackson County. The vessel will patrol the Intracoastal Waterway.

The J.D. Davis and the David Rucker vessels were commissioned in December and on March 1 respectively. They now patrol the Rio Grande River. Trooper Davis was shot and killed in Lubbock County in 1980 and Trooper Rucker was shot and killed in Cameron County in 1981.

Funding for the boats came from homeland security grants and the Texas Legislature.

Comments (22)

Displaying 1 - 22 of 22

George @ 5/18/2012 3:32 PM

It's Nice To See That Someone Is Finally Listening To Us Old Retired Guys For A Change!!!!!!!!!!!!!

STEVE GAINES @ 5/21/2012 6:07 PM

6 belt feds and 900 horse power. Sign me up!!!!! And YES!!!! it is about time we started fighting fire with FIRE instead of harsh words!!!

Tom Ret @ 5/21/2012 8:19 PM

A little common sense is refreshing for a change. At least Texas realizes they are patrolling a bad neighborhood and arming their forces accordingly.

Eva @ 5/21/2012 8:27 PM

It's about time we take back our country and stop illegals from crossing the border.

Morning Eagle @ 5/21/2012 11:58 PM

Agreed with all of the above, just wondering if Texas asked permission from King O and his court jester holder to equip their Troopers to play hardball. Or will the DOJ come up with some excuse to file an injunction to stop Texas from protecting their own? GO TEXAS!!

Trigger @ 5/22/2012 4:43 AM

Morning Eagle you are correct. It is sick, sad and wrong that the "experts" are taking aim at what we are trying to accomplish. As the ole saying goes "Mess with the best, die like the rest", God Bless Texas!!

Ric Walters @ 5/22/2012 5:15 AM

Gov. Perry has virtually created both an Army and a Navy within DPS, and none too soon. I've seen video of DPS Troopers (along with city, county, and federal cops) taking fire from the Mexican side of the river, and being unable to return fire for fear of creating an international incident. It's time we shot back. Peace through superior firepower.

Juan 10-13 @ 5/22/2012 5:51 AM

Thank you Gov. Perry for having the Cojones to arm DPS with the firepower needed to protect US all. Ironically true....(Ric Walters and I agree with you)...those Mutts shooting at us on the Rio Grande are expendable in my eyes,they are Mexico's sludge! We should consider it a MUTUAL ASSIST to the Mexican Government!

dbtkd @ 5/22/2012 1:21 PM

Now, if we can mount the FN240B on ATV's...Arizona Ranchers wouldn't be getting killed along the border.

bobcop406 @ 5/22/2012 7:15 PM

Can I come to work out heyar? Ah'm askin in a Taexes accent ya'll.
Old retired popo.

michael @ 5/23/2012 7:53 PM

Whats the old sayings, "Don't Fu-k with Texas" and "Everything is Bigger in Texas". This is pretty kool........good hunting.

Frank @ 5/24/2012 4:09 AM

If Texas DPS needs Military grade weaponry to fight the Cartels then its time to call in the military. This fight with the Cartels is gone way past Police work. Politicians and the Government need to wake the hell up. Their's more a stake then drugs and Illegal slipping across our borders. This is a National Security issue. The Obama Administration refuses to acknowledge the problem.

Robocop @ 5/24/2012 6:29 AM

Thank you DPS and Gov. Perry! Now Ric is right, will our Troopers be allowed to return fire on the Mex. side? That is going to be the question. I vote yes! Additionally ANYONE that is on our side of the river, including those in the water, should be subject to our laws and we should be able to take them into custody. W6 machine guns onboard we should have at least 4 Troopers onboard every vessel so all the weapons on each side can be used and preferably 7 Troopers so ALL weapons can be brought to bear! They don't play games and neither should we.

Frank @ 5/24/2012 12:22 PM

The minute the first Trooper open fires on anyone and kills that person in the water the House of Cards will fall. Hillary and the Administration will have the CMFIC of the Texas DPS's head on the block and the trooper will be looking at early retirement. This will be a International dog and pony show. I hope Texas has a great plan in place. I give them alot of credit for taking a position on this out of control mess. I guess everything is big in Texas including balls!

Jim Davenport @ 5/24/2012 2:51 PM

Excellent response by the State of Texas and their D.P.S. However, Napolitano and Obama recently said there wasn't a problem around the border. Since they've declared the area safe, I guess the boats won't get any use-yea, right!!!

Darren Chaker @ 6/25/2012 9:58 PM

I agree. If no one else is securing the border, the authority is with the state to protect itself and am happy to see DPS on the Rio Grande.

Annette @ 8/4/2013 6:28 PM

Texas need about 10 more I love it!!

MSG Ret. James Waid @ 8/8/2013 6:08 PM

If the Feds don't like it - stuff Obama. We need some one with a set of carbon steel bearings to roll on and get it done. HOOAH!

Bud @ 8/9/2013 6:01 AM

I know the police use K-9 dogs on land.
How about K-9 Gators on water.
Just a thought.

Joe @ 10/7/2013 4:08 PM

Hey Frank...a TRUE Texan knows that our Texas Rangers won't be reporting the WHO or WHAT is happening on the Lake. Good Riddance of them all - I happily will pay for any additional ammo needed to protect those waters.

Dan @ 6/8/2015 1:43 PM

I grew up waterskiing on the Rio Grande right where these boats are patrolling. My boat has to sit in Mississippi as we can no longer boat and ski on the river. For 50 years, I've seen many, many examples of why the the patrol boats are needed.

Mark @ 5/4/2016 7:54 AM

How fast will that boat run with 3 - 300hp outboards?

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