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Legislation filed to stop use of road spikes by drug cartels

20101112_BORDER-PATROL_Legislation-filedAUSTIN — State Rep. Aaron Peña has filed legislation on Monday that will outlaw the use, possession and manufacture of caltrops, more commonly known as road spikes.  Other border security legislation filed by Peña includes the creation of southbound checkpoints along the border to stop the flow of illegal cash and weapons into Mexico.

As chair of the House Committee on Emergency Preparedness, Peña has been holding hearings across the state of Texas assessing natural and criminal threats to public safety.  At the hearings and in subsequent meetings with border law enforcement the committee heard of drug runners increasing their use of road spikes against law enforcement. Typically these devices are crude and homemade but very effective. They pose a serious threat to the lives of law enforcement and innocent bystanders caught in the vicinity of a pursuit.

“DPS, Texas Rangers, the Border Patrol and our County Sheriff have all asked the legislature to respond and outlaw the manufacture and possession of these devices,” Peña said Monday. “Today we have filed House Bill (HB) 47 that will help take these weapons away from drug dealers.”

Caltrops are usually made of nails welded together in a tetrahedron form. When deployed a nail will always point upward and expand the damage to the tire. Caltrops have been used for over 2,300 years in various forms. They were known as the first landmines.

Another important border security issue that was brought to the attention of the committee was the flow of illegal cash and weapons into Mexico. The money and weapons are being used by the cartels to wage war on each other and the people of Mexico. The committee heard from law enforcement, business groups and local elected officials on the benefits of establishing southbound checkpoints on the U.S. side of the border. HB 48 will authorize the Department of Public Safety to join the Federal Government in the operation of a checkpoint within 250 yards of an international border crossing. The checkpoint will only stop and inspect vehicles intending to enter Mexico.

Nov. 8 was the first day that lawmakers are able to file legislation for the upcoming 82nd Legislature, which convenes on Jan. 11, 2011.

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