The Texas Department of Public Safety continues to highlight its counter-cartel initiative on Fronton Island in the Rio Grande Valley, a hotspot for transnational criminal organizations.
As reported by The Dallas Express, Texas DPS deployed a special operations group to the 170-acre island in order to run denial operations to stop cartels from continuing to use the island for drug smuggling, human trafficking, and armed incursions into Texas.
Texas Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham used her office’s power to certify that the island was, in fact, owned by the State of Texas and authorized the deployment. The troopers then proceeded to sweep the island, clearing many structures and ultimately planting the Texas flag on Fronton.
DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez explained that the effort, codenamed Operation Flat Top, has spent the month working tirelessly to prevent continued transnational criminal activity.
“To date, National Guard Engineers have cleared out the island & constructed a concertina wire barrier along the [Rio Grande],” he said. “The State of [Texas] continues to take unprecedented action to secure the border by addressing threats to public safety.”
A video shared by Olivarez showed how the Texas Military Department and DPS were clearing off brush from the waterfront and building wire barriers to prevent cartel operatives from accessing the island.
Similarly, Commissioner Buckingham added, “Thank you, [Texas DPS] & [Texas Military Department] for your unwavering service to [Texas] and your commitment to [Operation Flat Top].”
“Securing our border and taking action to protect Texas is nonnegotiable!” she concluded.
Since the beginning of Operation Flat Top in early October, DPS has released footage of armed cartel-related gangs operating around the Fronton area, demonstrating the need for the extended operation.
Additionally, recent infrared video taken by drones appeared to show rival cartel gangs engaging in a shootout just south of the island and operating out of various buildings in the area, as reported by The Dallas Express.
As the border crisis continues, the communities in the Rio Grande Valley continue to bear the burden. Recently, a 30-year law enforcement officer was killed during a cross-county chase by a Mexican national.