paper tag nation

Texas Senate Will Investigate Illegal Paper Tag Crimes, Smuggling

Dan Patrick
NBC 5 News

Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick announced Monday that a Senate committee will examine how illegal temporary license plates have become involved in violent crimes, human smuggling, and drug trafficking.

Patrick has directed the Senate’s Criminal Justice Committee to take up the issue between now and the start of the next legislative session in 2023.

NBC 5 Investigates has reported extensively on the massive scale of paper tag fraud in a series of reports, even traveling to the U.S.-Mexico border to show how drug cartels and human traffickers are now using fraudulent temporary tags in an effort to disguise vehicles and evade border enforcement.

In the DFW area, fraudulent temporary tags are involved in a majority of federal drug smuggling investigations the DEA told NBC 5.

Security flaws at the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles made it easier for people posing as car dealers to obtain a Texas dealer's license and then use that license to illegally sell tags for massive profits, the NBC 5 investigation found.

In the Texas House, the transportation committee also plans to hold hearings on the issue soon.  Committee Chairman Terry Canales (D) pledged to take up the problem, after NBC 5 Investigates showed how small car dealers, with no visible storefront, were issuing tens of thousands of tags in a scheme that some law enforcement officials estimate has become a $200 million black-market industry.


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