Press Release - LONGORIA FILES LEGISLATION CODIFYING THE BORDER PROSECUTION UNIT
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Press Release - LONGORIA FILES LEGISLATION CODIFYING THE BORDER PROSECUTION UNIT
S T A T E R E P R E S E N T A T I V E
O S C A R L O N G O R I A
D I S T R I C T 3 5
TEXAS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
P.O. BOX 2910 • AUSTIN, TEXAS 78768-2910
CAPITOL EXTENSION E1.510
PHONE: 512.463.0645 • FAX: 512.463.0559
MEDIA CONTACT: Michelle Villarreal
VISIT US ONLINE AT WWW.HOUSE.STATE.TX.US/MEMBERS/MEMBER-PAGE/?DISTRICT=35 , ON FACEBOOK AT WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/OSCARLEELONGORIA
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REP. LONGORIA FILES LEGISLATION CODIFYING THE BORDER PROSECUTION UNIT
THE BPU IS AN INDEPENDENT UNIT THAT COOPERATES WITH AND SUPPORTS BORDER
PROSECUTING ATTORNEYS IN PROSECUTING BORDER CRIMES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, 2015
AUSTIN, TX—Today, State Representative Oscar Longoria (House District 35) filed House Bill 12.
This bill codifies the original intent of the Border Prosecution Unit (BPU), which has been modeled
after the Special Prosecution Unit in Walker County in Huntsville, Texas. It will put everything
relating to the BPU into law.
The border prosecution unit is an independent unit that cooperates with and supports border
prosecuting attorneys in prosecuting border crimes. The unit is comprised of the following
border prosecuting attorneys: the 34th, 38th, 49th, 63rd, 79th, 81st, 83rd, 112th, 143rd, 156th,
229th, 293rd, 452nd judicial districts, all other offices of district attorneys, criminal district
attorneys or county attorneys with felony responsibility, created by the legislature whose
jurisdiction lies with the border region.
The unit will elect a governing board within their own which shall divide the unit into three regions
(regional counsels), and shall set the boundaries of such regions from time to time as may be
appropriate. The unit shall facilitate the coordination and collaboration with the border
prosecuting attorneys, the unit’s regional counsel, and other law enforcement agencies, particularly
the Texas Department of Public Safety, to more efficiently use the resources available to protect the
The regional counsel shall assist other regional councils and border prosecuting attorneys in
prosecuting cases, screening cases, presenting cases to a grand jury and participating in the
preparation and trial of cases. The counsel shall provide technical and legal assistance to
House Bill 12 will facilitate the BPU in prosecuting drug/border crimes (murder, kidnapping,
extortion), criminal enterprises associated with cartels and drug trade, financial crimes and human
trafficking. The bill will enhance relations between each district attorney, local DPS and law
enforcement organizations on the ground. They will work together in the handling of cases that
reach across county/jurisdictional boundaries. It will also implement threat-based operational
goals and practices targeting gangs and other criminal organizations operating in Texas, including
those in state prison facilities.
Representative Oscar Longoria issued the following statement:
“House Bill 12 is important because it places the Border Prosecution Unit into statute. This
better allows local officials to prosecute border related crime, including: drug smuggling,
murder, kidnapping, extortion, money laundering and human trafficking.
The Border Prosecution Unit is vital in helping prosecutors screen cases, secure indictments
and bring accused criminals to trial. This bill will give our prosecutors the resources and
support they need to ensure that those who enslave, exploit and endanger others are put
behind bars where they belong.
When looking at securing the border, the approach the legislature is taking this session
involves all facets of border security--- from enhancing law enforcement resources,
increasing multiagency operations, strengthening human trafficking violations, and
providing the proper resources needed by border prosecutors that deal with the legal side of
these issues. Identifying and providing resources to all the areas identified will better allow
us to create a stronger and safer border for all Texans."
Representative Oscar Longoria proudly represents House District 35, which encompasses both Hidalgo and
Cameron Counties and includes the cities/towns of: La Joya, Sullivan City, Peñitas, Alton, Edinburg, Monte Alto,
Edcouch, La Villa, Mercedes, Weslaco, Santa Rosa, Primera, Palm Valley, Combes, Harlingen, and La Feria.