Byline: Associated Press
MCALLEN, Texas (AP) – The Texas Department of Public Safety said it will have two armored gunboats patrolling the Rio Grande later this month.
DPS director Steve McCraw said March 1 that the gunboats would not have been considered four years ago, but violent Mexico drug cartels have changed that.
Agency spokesman Tom Vinger said, by summer, there will be six of the 34-foot boats operating — three on the Rio Grande and three on the Intracoastal Waterway. The first two will be based in the Rio Grande Valley.
Fully equipped, the boats cost $588,000 each, paid for with federal grants and state funds.
McCraw, who spoke at a legislative field hearing on the border, also said the state still plans to procure a high-altitude surveillance plane to patrol the border.