Don’t Mess With Texas. A police gunboat equipped with three super quiet 300 horsepower outboard engines and emblazoned with the words ‘Texas Highway Patrol’ is seen in this undated handout photo released to Reuters March 1, 2012. The Texas Department of Public Safety Thursday dedicated the second of six new gunboats, 34 foot shallow water craft known as ‘interceptors,’ similar to the Navy swift boats which patrolled the rivers of Vietnam during the Vietnam War, and said the ships will be deployed on the Rio Grande and the Intercoastal Waterway, which separates the mainland from Padre Island. (REUTERS/Texas Department of Public Safety)
Texas unveiled the second of six new ‘interceptor’ gunboats on Thursday, similar to Navy swift boats that plied the rivers of Vietnam during the Vietnam War, to patrol the waterways of the Mexico border.
The Texas Department of Public Safety, which oversees the Texas Highway Patrol and the Texas Rangers, said the 34-foot shallow water crafts would be deployed on the Rio Grande and the Intercoastal Waterway, which separates the Texas mainland from Padre Island.
“They have night vision capabilities, they have ballistic shielding, and the first couple of boats have fully automatic machine guns,” department spokesman Tom Vinger told Reuters. Texas Governor Rick Perry has repeatedly called on the Obama administration to send National Guard troops to boost security on the Texas-Mexico border, which is heavily trafficked by often gun-toting drug smugglers from Mexico.
Vinger said the boats would mainly patrol the Rio Grande, and would be geared toward stopping smugglers of drugs, weapons and illegal immigrants.