Gov. Greg Abbott unveiled the Laredo Police Department’s (LPD) new Texas Anti-Gang (TAG) Center on Monday, March 13, according to a news release.
Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw was in attendance for the ribbon-cutting ceremony debuting the new center, along with other federal, local, and state officials. During the event, LPD’s acting chief, Steve Landin, was presented with a proclamation in recognition of the new center by the governor.
The new center is the ninth of its kind in the Lone Star State.
The center will be used to help collaborate with other law enforcement agencies in investigating organized criminal organizations and violent crime in the Laredo area.
“Laredo is a vibrant city and a hub of international commerce, and we know that safe communities promote robust business,” said Abbott in the release. “This new anti-gang center will help us achieve the goal of keeping Laredo a safe city.”
Late last year the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas announced that more than a dozen criminals allegedly affiliated with the Texas Mexican Mafia were behind bars for the traffic of narcotics in Laredo.
The new TAG Center would target these kinds of groups, although gang activity is not unique to Laredo.
As Abbott explained in the recent release, organized crime “spans across Texas and is growing more dangerous by the day.”
The new TAG Center in Laredo will work in partnership with other law enforcement agencies from multiple regions such as Dallas-Fort Worth, El Paso, Houston, Lubbock, McAllen, San Antonio, Tyler, and Waco to target gang operations, according to the release.
“Our job is to find these criminal elements, arrest them, and put them out of business. I want to thank all law enforcement officers involved for your hard work and collaboration cracking down on gang violence to ensure the safety of Texas communities,” said Abbott, per the release.
In 2015, a state-of-the-art TAG Center was established in North Richland Hills through a grant of $1.2 million. The TAG Center tackles gang-related crime in 11 different counties: Tarrant, Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Hood, Johnson, Kaufman, Navarro, Parker, and Smith.
Yet gang-related crime continues to plague the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where affiliates are involved in fraud, property crime, human trafficking, and violent crime.
Earlier this year in Dallas, 21 gang members were arrested with 200 pounds of drugs, along with cash and guns, according to Fox 4.
So far in 2023, there have been 2,014 drug-related offenses reported in the city limits, according to the City of Dallas Open Data crime analytics dashboard.