Lubbock law enforcement puts gang members on notice
Lubbock law enforcement is cranking up the heat on gang members across the South Plains.
A new task force is hitting the streets with all the necessary resources to take on its mission of eradicating organized crime.
"The criminal element in this area has officially been put on notice that we have joined forces in a robust way that we're coming after you strategically and relentlessly," said Chief Randy Prince with the Texas Rangers.
Lubbock Police, Sheriffs, DPS, Lubbock District Attorney's office, DEA, and Homeland Security are all under roof now. It is called the Texas Anti Gang Center (TAG).
"We've got several independent agencies all with limited resources, limited personal, all trying to chase the same problem," Lubbock Sheriff Kelly Rowe said. "By putting everybody under one roof we garner immediate benefits in our intelligence gathering capability which helps our law enforcement functions."
Lubbock is not the only place being targeted.
"We have identified 15 counties that kind of surround Lubbock that we believe these gangs are working in, the area that we call the AOR, the Area of Responsibility," said Gary Albus, Regional Director for DPS Region 5, Lubbock.
Despite only just now being announced, Albus said the program is already in full swing and is yielding results.
"They have participated in 10 murder investigations. They have also testified in three counties as subject matter experts about gang activities," Albus said. "We've also seized almost 28 pounds of methamphetamine. We seized 12 pounds of cocaine, and we've arrested 57 felonies. 109 misdemeanor arrests, they've identified 309 people who have had outstanding warrants. We're cleaning up the streets."
LPD Chief Greg Stevens said despite the success, there is a long way to go before their mission is accomplished.
"I think it's bigger than what most people realize but it's not so bad that we can't get ahead of that, we can't get control of that," said Chief Stevens. "But, we can't sit around and one hide from it and act like it's not real and we certainly cannot sit back and hope that it gets better. We have to take proactive measures and we have to work together and really address those issues."
If Sheriff Rowe has his way though, today will mark the end of that growth.
"The criminal elements out there and the gang elements out there better get ready because it's about to get interesting," said Rowe.