To help combat the many and varied crimes associated with Transnational Criminal Organizations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is establishing its 58th “BEST” task force in the United States, and its eighth in Texas.
The new West Texas Panhandle Border Enforcement Security Task Force, based in San Angelo, is designed to formalize and enhance existing relationships with local, state, federal and tribal law enforcement agencies to combat Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCO). This latest BEST task force extends from Crockett and Sutton counties in central Texas all the way north to the southern border of Oklahoma.
Crockett and Sutton counties are just one county north of the border with Mexico. Drug and human smugglers, gangs and other criminals who travel farther west to avoid law enforcement on the main Interstate Highway 35 corridor starting in Laredo, Texas, still have to contend with the West Texas Panhandle BEST.
“As criminal organizations become more and more sophisticated in planning and executing their crimes and avoiding capture, we in law enforcement must become more efficient and more effective in partnering with our fellow law enforcement agencies,” said Katrina W. Berger, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Dallas. “Our law enforcement partners already have tremendous training, expertise and unique law enforcement authorities. HSI’s BEST task forces, and the latest West Texas Panhandle Border Enforcement Security Task Force, will help us all work better together to combat these criminals and protect the public — the most basic and primary goals for any law enforcement agency.”