Texas officials fighting to keep control of Fronton Island


  • Texas took over area along Rio Grande used by cartels
  • IWBC: construction could have environmental impacts
  • State officials said they’ll fight to keep land 

(NewsNation) — Now that the Texas government says Fronton Island, a 170-acre body of land surrounded by the Rio Grande in Texas is under their control, they are now battling to keep it.

Cartel members were previously running rampant on Fronton Island for months, with images showing armed operatives, some wearing body armor, traversing through the land and assisting with human smuggling. Other images, according to Texas Department of Public Safety officials, showed cartel operatives throwing explosives in order to escalate their “intimidation tactics.”

However, Texas authorities cleared Fronton Island of cartel activity last September as part of Operation Flat Top. Back on Sept. 7, the Texas General Land Office gave DPS access to the area after determining the property was owned by the state. Then, on Nov. 27, Operation Flat Top was completed after DPS and others cleared the island of all vegetation and leveled it.

Texas officials said this made it virtually impossible for cartel members to use the space to evade law enforcement.

“Since the beginning of Operation Flat Top, there has been a 100% decrease in cartel activity,” the Texas General Land Office said in a February news release.

However, the International Water Boundary Commission says it is identifying and prohibiting construction in the area that is impacting the river. This includes unapproved constructed works, the constructed land bridges and the installed concertina fence blocking the portion of the flow that would normally occur during normal and designed flood events. It could potentially cause deflection of the river flow toward Mexico in violation of the 1970 Treaty, the IWBC said.

Texas Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham dismissed these concerns as “political,” saying if federal officials try to take that property away from the state, it would be a “fight.”

“If they did take that property I would invite them to actually secure the border,” Buckingham said.

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