Sheriff Rowe: 'Lubbock's crime problem starts at the border'

Sheriff Rowe: Lubbock's crime problem starts at the border

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Narcotics flood across what law enforcement and Lubbock Congressman Jodey Arrington call a "porous border". After meeting with law enforcement leaders in our region, Arrington said the real and rampant crisis has hit West Texas. 

DPS, Lubbock Police and the Sheriff's Office agreed those drugs are fueling an increase in crime. 

"It's nothing I've ever seen in my near 30 year law enforcement career," Lubbock Police Chief Greg Stevens said. 

Stevens compared the drug problem in 2019 to the early 80's. 

"We're taking down major drug seizures, pounds and pounds, 20 pounds, 60 pounds of methamphetamine," Stevens said. "That was unheard of a decade ago, that was unheard of five years ago." 

Stevens said this meth is not being made in mom and pop labs, but coming from across the border, more potent and addictive. Sheriff Kelly Rowe said he sees the steady increase in addicts first hand through the jail system. 

"The in excess of 70 percent of individuals sitting there, just under 1,200 today are in because they're addicted to something," Rowe said.

Steven said this results in a massive increase in property crimes committed by addicts or gang members searching for guns. 

"They don't stop at the city limits signs," Stevens said. "They don't stop at the county line, they go beyond that." 

Once those smuggled drugs hit I-40, they can be distributed anywhere. Rowe said more and more gangs in our area are working with the same cartels. For a year now, the Texas Anti-Gang Center has been busy catching these criminals. 

"Fortunately we've got the means and ways to tract and interdict those guys as much as possible," Rowe said.

Congressmen Arrington vowed to do what he could in Washington. 

"To know that the presence of these organizations exist in our backyard, in our neighborhoods is startling," Arrington said. 

His hope is by strengthening border security, we can put an end to this epidemic. 

"If the federal government does not do it's job, it bleeds over into our state and local law enforcement," Arrington said. 

There are fewer than 400 undocumented immigrants booked in the Lubbock County Detention Center. Rowe said trafficking narcotics is the top crime committed, followed by sexual assault of children, domestic violence and DWI. 

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