AUSTIN -- What does it take to cause a severe dent in the Mexican drug cartel operations in Texas? State leaders say a recent multi-agency operation is proof that border patrol agents can negatively impact the cartels' business.
When it comes to the Mexican drug cartels and their foothold in Texas, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst stated the facts.
"Seven of the eight major Mexican cartels are using Texas as a staging and a shipment area for trafficking drugs, weapons and people," said Dewhurst.
It's why local, state and federal law enforcement agencies staged Operation Strong Safety. For three weeks they hit the cartels where it hurts the most -- in the wallet.
"The cartels are operating based on profits," said Steven McCraw, the Texas Department of Public Safety Director. "Whether it's humans or drugs is based on money."
Border patrol agents flooded the Rio Grande Valley working 12 hour shifts.
"The results were predictable," said McCraw. "I mean it's not rocket science."
McCraw says over a period of time the cartels can not withstand steep losses in contraband and people.
"Initially what happens is seizures go up and arrests go up, but there's a tipping point when they go down," he said.
McCraw says that's exactly what happened as marijuana and cocaine seizures were down nearly 50 percent and felony pursuits dropped 74 percent.
Dewhurst says it's proof that the nearly $800 million of Texas tax dollars spent on border security has been worth it. He says the fight needs to continue.
"The bad guys don't have to worry about an appropriations process," said Dewhurst. "They just sell more drugs, steal more cars or extort more money from human trafficking."
Dewhurst says to effectively shut down the Texas border, the number of border patrol agents need to double or triple. He says he'll continue to push Washington, D.C. to increase the number of agents in Texas.