Surface Forces: Texan Gunboats Go Forth

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August 24, 2012: The American state of Texas is forming a naval unit of six gunboats to deal with the growing drug gang violence on both sides of the Rio Grande River. For some 2,000 kilometers this river forms the border between Mexico and Texas. A few sections of the river are heavily used to smuggle drugs and the smugglers often use violence if they are interfered with. The new Texas gunboat force will assist police and border patrol forces on land to prevent the drug gangs from escaping across the river and make the river safe for civilian use.

The six 11 meter (34 foot) gunboats (each equipped with six 7.62mm machine-guns, armor, and night vision equipment) cost about $600,000 each. The federal government contributed some money for this and approves of the new riverine force. The six boats have boat trailers that enable them to be quickly moved to parts of the river where they are needed. The boats are manned by members of the Texas Highway Patrol.

Initially, the patrol boats are to be used to patrol Lake Falcon, which is a 33,854 hectare (83,650 acre) body of water formed behind one of the dams on the Rio Grande. For the last two years one of the major Mexican drug gangs has been increasingly active on the lake, killing Mexicans and Americans and generally misbehaving.

 


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