Area drug bust results in new mobile command unit for Texas Rangers

Updated: May. 16, 2019 at 6:16 PM CDT
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CARSON COUNTY, Texas (KFDA) - The Texas Rangers now have a new mobile command unit after Texas Department of Public Safety officials seized a showhauler in Donley County.

DPS Spokeswoman, Sergeant Cindy Barkley said it won’t change how they respond, but it will enhance their response to incidents across the state.

There are 10 DPS officers in the 5B10 Sergeant Area Office stationed in Panhandle, who cover around 177 miles of the High Plains.

“They cover all of I-40 from state line to state line,” said Barkley. “From the New Mexico state line all the way to Oklahoma.”

Last November, one trooper arrested a man in Donley County for carrying 3,500 pounds of marijuana and 2,000 pounds of THC in the showhauler.

Chapter 59 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure allows prosecutors to seize property used in certain offenses.

The 100th Judicial District Attorney Luke Inman said they seize currency and vehicles used in felony money laundering and drug offenses.

“This chapter allows individuals engaged in the illegal narcotics trade to actually pay for unique items that benefit law enforcement and protects all of us tax-paying citizens,” said Inman. “Drug dealers don’t pay taxes, so the fact that we have an avenue to seize their property and put it to good use, especially in this case, is an amazing tool and asset that the great State of Texas affords all district attorneys.”

The DA’s office and the DPS have a sharing agreement to split proceeds 70/30 after property is sold at auction.

However, Inman said they are forgoing the monetary value to benefit the department.

Now that the civil case is finalized, instead of hauling drugs, it will now become the newest crime-fighting tool for the Texas Rangers.

“The mobile command unit is basically going to be used for responding to high risk incidents throughout our state,” said Barkley.

Barkley said those incidents have increased.

“We’ve had such things as barricaded subjects, hostage negotiation situations and active shooter incidents,” she said. “And this unit will just provide a safe way for communication in order to help save lives and decrease property damage.”

Valued at over $270,000, the vehicle will be able to operate TV’s, computers, phones and communication equipment.

Exterior lighting and cameras will also be installed for thermal zoom capabilities.

“This is by far our largest vehicle value seizure,” said Inman.

Inman said a vehicle this unique would have been difficult for the department to afford.

“This is something that, probably from a department perspective, it would be really hard for them to put that in their budget to get this unique item," he said. "However, the fact that drug dealers were using this to haul a large amount of controlled substances and we seized that from them, the state of Texas, tax payers do not have to pay for this equipment. We can just give this to law enforcement for their use.”

Assistant District Attorney Harley Caudle said they work with the best in state, and their partnership continues to crack down on crime and improve public safety.

“We have criminals that don’t pay taxes, contribute nothing to our society,” said Caudle. “And to be able to take something like this from them and put it to use on behalf of the state, I think it’s great for everyone involved.”

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