La Joya police use grant money to fight human smuggling

La Joya Police Chief Geovanni Hernandez

La Joya Police Chief Geovani Hernandez said human smuggling is the biggest crime committed in La Joya.

It TMs a multibillion dollar industry so they got to keep pushing, Corporal Miguel Flores, La Joya Police Department, said. We might take two to three loads of illegals but they probably cross three to four times that amount.

Chief Hernandez is hoping a $100,000 Stone Garden grant from Homeland Security will help.

It will allow police like Cpl. Flores to work about 30 hours of overtime each week beefing up patrols in the city.

An estimated 40,000 vehicles pass through the city everyday.

Police may stop as many as 150 drivers daily but human smuggling organizations always find new ways to push their loads through.

I TMve been here seven months and that TMs one of the biggest challenges we as La Joya police officers face, Chief Hernandez said.

Chief Hernandez said he is hoping the grant will allow his team to not only focus on the problem but get to the core, leaders of these smuggling operations.

The things we are doing now are trying to identify people, try and link people from different parts of the county who are promoting this business, he said.

Police are ramping up patrols on known areas where drug and human smugglers enter and leave the United States

But even with more officers on the street Chief Hernandez said the smuggling will likely continue.

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