At their height, Texas had 53 multi-county drug task forces which employed more than 700 officers, but after the Governor shifted their money to border security and other priorities, only one was able to keep going: The West Central Texas Interlocal Crime Task Force, which had a large sum of money in the bank from a massive 1999 currency bust on I-20. Thanks to that $9.9 million stash, the task force "remained operational long after others were shuttered."
Several other task forces had hoped to stay open through an "eat what you kill" strategy, living off asset forfeiture income like privateers plundering enemy vessels on the high seas. But that revenue turned out to be unreliable at best and this task force was the only one with enough forfeiture money already banked to seriously make a go of it.
According to the Abilene Reporter News (June 21), "In 2011, with seizures down, the decision was made not to keep the task force, and its $750,000 annual operating budget, afloat." As of last week, "Agency equipment and vehicles already have been auctioned, and the final piece of business was to return evidence in pending cases to their home jurisdictions."
Eastland County Sheriff Wayne Bradford told the Reporter-News that:
instead of sting operations, the county was focusing on traffic stops.
"Working traffic is our best option right now, using intelligence gathered from stops. We catch people with drugs, ask where they got it, and if they saw drugs there within 72 hours, we can get a search warrant and go in there and try to make an arrest," he said.