DPS Praises Announcement of Texas Anti-Gang
Tactical Operations Center in Houston
DPS among law enforcement agencies committed to this effort
AUSTIN – Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw praised Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos, who today announced the establishment of the Texas Anti-Gang (TAG) Tactical Operations Center in Houston through a $1.7 million grant from the Criminal Justice Division of the Governor’s Office. Representing DPS at today’s announcement at the Houston High-Intensity Drug-Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Headquarters was Regional Commander Duane Steen. Lykos is the current chair of HIDTA.
“The violent criminal gangs operating in Texas, who regularly do business with transnational criminal organizations, are becoming increasingly violent in their tactics and more sophisticated in their business operations, as they aim to terrorize our communities for profit,” said Director McCraw. “We applaud District Attorney Lykos for her leadership in this innovative approach to bringing together various law enforcement partners to target and take down these ruthless criminals.”
The TAG will serve as the unified headquarters for an estimated 75 - 100 of the region’s most knowledgeable and experienced federal, state and local anti-gang investigators, analysts and prosecutors. For operational security purposes, the location and full technological capabilities of the TAG are not being disclosed.
The TAG will be comprised of various law enforcement agencies, including the Texas Department of Public Safety; U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Drug Enforcement Administration; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Marshals Service; the Houston Police Department; Harris County Sheriff’s Office, other county sheriffs and constables offices throughout the region; and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, among others.
The TAG will implement an innovative approach to fighting violent criminal gangs and the transnational criminal organizations with which they are increasingly allied by utilizing:
• An open floor plan to allow mission-specific working groups to simultaneously undertake multiple priorities, while permitting a flexible surge in focus during moments of crisis or operational need;
• Full-time, on-site support from the District Attorney’s Office to assist with rapid authorization of warrants; provide legal guidance to law enforcement while investigations are ongoing; strengthen cases for eventual prosecution; and expedite the filing of criminal charges;
• Centralized staff, which will avoid interagency redundancies and facilitate secure access to a wide-range of disparate law enforcement databases; and
• Specialists in electronic forensics, data-recovery and foreign-languages (particularly concerning special-interest countries), who will be readily available to all law enforcement agencies across the region.
Today violent criminal gangs and their allied transnational networks are involved in virtually every type of felonious activity, including drug production and distribution; weapons-smuggling, extortion, kidnapping and murder for hire; home-invasion; metal and heavy equipment theft; major fraud, money laundering and bulk cash smuggling; gambling and dog-fighting; and prostitution and human-trafficking, including both adults and children for sexual exploitation.
For additional information on the Tactical Operations Center, please visit http://app.dao.hctx.net/Default.aspx.