Texas Gov. Rick Perry has activated a secret spillover violence contingency plan, citing an increasing threat of violence crossing the Texas border from Mexico.
Perry's office said details of the plan, activated Tuesday, wouldn't be released because of security concerns. However, Perry said that, "With the growing threat of violence in Mexico spilling over the border, we have taken important measures to increase the law enforcement presence along the Texas border and have placed additional resources on standby to combat any potential situation."
The plan includes increased surveillance of border activity and increased ground, air and maritime patrols. Additional resources ready for rapid deployment also have been placed on standby. Those resources include Texas Department of Public Safety tactical teams and Trooper Strike Teams, as well as Texas Ranger Recon Teams prepared to deploy based on the threat.
Tela Mange, a spokesperson for DPS, declined to say how many DPS officers the move would affect or what parts of the state the personnel would come from. DPS has more than 4,000 commissioned officers in the state.
Perry is also calling for help from the federal government. Perry has asked Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and President Barack Obama for more than 1,000 National Guard troops to help secure the Texas-Mexico border.
“It is imperative that the federal government immediately provide additional resources to prevent spillover violence, but with the safety of Texans on the line, we can’t afford to wait,” Perry said in a statement.
The governor's office said it has asked Washington for help before and has requested the guardsmen several times in the last year. Napolitano told MSNBC she would review the request.
The U.S. State Department issued a travel warning Sunday to Americans living in or planning to travel to the Mexico border area after three people with ties to the U.S. consulate in Cuidad Juarez were gunned down in two separate attacks.
Gunmen chased two white SUVs from the birthday party of a consulate employee's child on Saturday and opened fire as horrified relatives screamed. But the FBI said Tuesday that confused hit men may have gone to the wrong party.
"We don't have any information that these folks were directly targeted because of their employment by the U.S. government or their U.S. citizenship," FBI spokeswoman Andrea Simmons told The Associated Press by phone from El Paso.
The following information was released by the governor's office on Tuesday afternoon.
At the governor’s direction, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), in coordination with local and federal law enforcement along the Texas-Mexico border, has implemented critical elements of the state’s spillover violence contingency plan. These steps include increased surveillance of border activity by state and local law enforcement, the Texas Border Security Operations Center, and the Joint Operational and Intelligence Centers to ensure the timely sharing of intelligence information; increased ground, air and maritime patrol presence; and increased intensity of day and night DPS helicopter patrol operations along the Rio Grande River, as well as National Guard helicopters to support aviation missions. Additional resources ready for rapid deployment have been placed on standby, including DPS SWAT Teams and Trooper Strike Teams, as well as Ranger Recon Teams prepared to reposition based on threat.
"Texas has a unique cultural and economic relationship with Mexico, and we are committed to a common interest of shutting down these criminal enterprises," Gov. Perry said. "We will continue to closely monitor this situation, and take any necessary action to ensure the safety of our citizens and to protect continued legitimate cross-border trade and travel."
Since January 2008, a reported 4,700 homicides have been committed across the border from El Paso in Ciudad Juarez, making it one of the most violent cities in the world.
A porous border places Texas and the nation at risk from international terrorists, organized crime cartels and transnational gangs. Until the federal government fulfills its responsibility of securing our border, Texas will continue filling in the gaps by putting more boots on the ground, providing increased law enforcement resources and leveraging technology along the border.
Gov. Perry has a standing request with the federal government for 1,000 Title 32 National Guardsmen to support civilian law enforcement efforts to enhance border security in Texas, as well as a more recent request for predator drones to be based in and operate over the Texas-Mexico border to provide essential information to law enforcement on the ground.
NBC DFW's Omar Villafranca contributed to this report.