Laredo, Texas News 8 - April 13, 2009
A state senator has introduced a bill to stop law enforcement corruption along the Texas and Mexico border. The bill is called law enforcement integrity unit. And it’s addressed to all state, local, and federal officers. A law enforcement unit would be created within the Texas Department of Public Safety to assist in the enforcement of laws related to corruption. Martin Cuellar, Webb County Sheriff: "Not only in Laredo but all over the state of Texas. There has been a lot of corruption." "Laredo and Webb County has seen their share of law enforcement corruption and the sheriff's department is hoping this bill will put a stop to it. "Everybody gets affected when there is corruption it doesn't matter whether is from Sheriff's department, Laredo police even federal agencies." One recent example the conviction of a border patrol agent from Zapata. This month Leonel Morales was sentenced to 14 years in prison. He accepted nine thousand dollars to ensure a cocaine load of 20-kilograms could be moved through Zapata. So what makes it so easy for officers to join in the drug cartels? "I think its easy for someone that's weak in their mind to accept money from drug dealers, again I think it happens all over the state." According to the sheriff they have seen cases of corruption within their department. "I know that we have some investigators that we are looking at but I can't comment on those." The sheriff will not comment on the type of cases but says he has involved other agencies like the Texas Rangers and the attorney general's office to look into the matter. "I think we need to do a little bit more stricter on background investigations on the people that we hire." If the bill passes the department of public safety would establish the law enforcement integrity unit by 2010. The act will take effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all members of each house.