Gov. Rick Perry announced today that the state, working in concert

with the U.S. Border Patrol, will begin cracking down on commercial

truckers who knowingly smuggle illegal weapons, drugs or humans across

the Texas-Mexico border.

Perry directed the Texas Department

of Public Safety (DPS) to work with Border Patrol, in an initiative

dubbed Texas Hold ‘Em, to revoke the commercial driver licenses of

those convicted of felony smuggling.

“The vast majority of

Texas truckers are law-abiding citizens who work incredibly long hours

to feed their families and keep our economy moving,” Perry said. “But

there are those who are breaking the law to make a quick buck. And to

those law breakers, we are sending the message: If you knowingly

smuggle goods across the Texas border, you will lose your license and

your livelihood.”

Texas border security operations have put

mounting pressure on Mexican crime cartels and other crime

organizations to find alternate ways of smuggling contraband into the

state. This includes recruiting commercial drivers to transport

contraband, including drugs and humans, across the border in return for


Due to these increased illegal recruitment efforts,

Border Patrol recognized the need to establish a process ensuring DPS

receives the necessary court documents to suspend violators’ driver

licenses upon a felony smuggling conviction. As part of Gov. Perry’s

ongoing efforts to secure our border through coordinated state-federal

efforts, he has instructed DPS to work with Border Patrol to enforce

this law.

In the first eight months of fiscal year 2008,

Border Patrol agents in Texas intercepted 423 tractor trailers

resulting in the detainment of more than 1,800 undocumented immigrants

and more than 112,000 pounds of illegal drugs. In the Laredo area, 330

truck drivers have been caught smuggling drugs or humans into Texas in

the last 18 months.

“This joint initiative is another step in

securing our border against all-threats,” said Border Patrol Chief

David V. Aguilar. “Together with our shared-mission partners, we will

continue to take away the means by which smugglers try to put the

American way of life at risk.”

“DPS, in cooperation with the

U.S. Border Patrol, is pleased to have established this process for

reporting felony convictions for commercial drivers who have committed

felonies by transporting drugs and/or undocumented aliens in a

commercial vehicle,” said Chief of DPS Driver License Division Judy

Brown. “Taking action to revoke the privilege of these drivers will

further assist our efforts to increase safety on the public roadways

and to increase the security of our nation’s border.”

The Texas Hold ‘Em initiative includes:

Revoking CDL privileges for felony convictions
Increasing awareness of smuggling penalties
Initiating a public service announcement campaign and
Creating a “Tipster” Hotline and offering rewards for information leading to felony smuggling convictions


Hold ‘Em is a permanent program that will serve as a standard operating

procedure across all five border sectors within the state. The Border

Patrol is also actively pursuing similar agreements with other states

to expand the program nationwide.