Federal aid covers most costs of cameras near Texas-Mexico border
By W. Gardner Selby
Published on Friday, February 7th, 2014 at 6:29 p.m.
Lieutenant governor candidate Todd Staples says he not only has a plan that addresses border security, he’s already tackled the challenge.
Staples, Texas’ agriculture commissioner, wrote in a Jan. 13 campaign email blast, "Using cost savings that I achieved from cutting government waste, I helped fund Operation Drawbridge, a low-cost, high-tech, DPS-led operation that placed game cameras along the border to detect illegal trafficking.
"As a result, more than 21,500 arrests have been made and 46 tons of narcotics confiscated."
That's Half True, we concluded.
Our sense was that his statement could leave the misleading impression that a few hundred thousand dollars committed on Staples’ watch to a Department of Public Safety program already established near the border culminated in all those touted arrests and confiscations.
Nearly $350,000 in grant money from the Texas Department of Agriculture supported the border effort. But we didn't see a way to tie particular arrests and confiscations to the grants. Also, Staples' statement left out the critical fact that about 90 percent of the operation’s funding has come from $2.5 million in federal aid awarded through Gov. Rick Perry's office.
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