Skip to comments.Edinburg (Texas) slayings spark anti-drug push from lawmaker
Posted on 01/07/2003 6:13:29 AM PST by KS Flyover
AUSTIN A Rio Grande Valley lawmaker in whose district six men were shot to death early Sunday has called for more federal and state dollars to fight the war on drugs.
State Rep. Aaron Peña, who lost a son of his own to drugs in 2001, said the Texas-Mexico border region was rapidly becoming a war zone due to the proliferation of cocaine and marijuana, and associated violent crime.
The claim was not disputed by Edinburg Chief of Police Quirino Muñoz or Hidalgo Countys drugs task force commander Lupe Treviño Monday, even though the massacre on Monte Christo road has yet to be confirmed as drug-related.
"How many people have to die before the leadership in Austin or Washington hears our cries?" asked Peña, D-Edinburg, Monday. "Do they not hear the wailings of the thousands of parents who have lost their children to the flood of drugs that have inundated our community?"
Peña, who plans to file a bill during the upcoming legislative session to bring a substance abuse rehabilitation and detoxification center in the Rio Grande Valley, said that if the Edinburg shootings had occurred in well-known gated communities in Texas, such as in Dallas Highland Park, Austins Westlake Hills, or Houstons River Oaks areas, rather than a South Texas colonia, there would be much greater political and media interest.
"Drugs are rapidly turning the Texas-Mexico border into a war zone that will spread to our larger cities if this state continues to place the drug problem at the bottom of its priorities," he said.
Edinburg police chief Muñoz said there was a "very strong possibility" Sundays killings were related to drug running. He said that part of the county was a well-known corridor for the transportation of drugs.
Muñoz said his area could use more personnel, equipment and training, and that he supported calls for stronger anti-drug education programs in schools and a more "aggressive" rehabilitation effort.
"Were on the frontline. Were the ones that have to deal with the crimes generated by drug usage and trafficking," he added. "Whether the funding comes from local, state, or federal sources, we need more help."
According to Dave Wanser, executive director of the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, increased security measures since the 9/11 terrorist attacks have resulted in more illegal drugs from Mexico and Latin America being dumped in the Valley.
Wanser added that people from other parts of the United States were flocking to border towns to use a plentiful and cheap supply of drugs.
He then called for dousing fires with gasoline.
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