Border Patrol targets truckers trafficking in drugs, immigrants
By Karen Brooks, Dallas Morning News
AUSTIN — Truckers who get caught smuggling illegal immigrants or drugs through Texas will lose their commercial driver's licenses under a new enforcement program announced Thursday by Gov. Rick Perry.
The "Texas Hold 'Em" initiative relies on a 10-year-old state administrative law and some federal statutes on revoking commercial licenses for smuggling crimes.
The governor said those laws hadn't been used in the past for federal cases because of a lack of communication between federal and state agencies.
Officials from the U.S. Border Patrol say they've seen a rise in the use of trucks – a longtime favorite of smugglers – to bring contraband through Texas and into the rest of the country. They hope to use the new enforcement effort as another tool to deter smuggling.
The law applies to any driver licensed in any state, officials say. Five truckers – two from Texas and three from other states – have already lost their licenses after being convicted of smuggling.