DPS and ICE detain close to 70 people during Highway 6 traffic enforcement

Published: Feb. 10, 2020 at 11:53 PM CST
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State authorities on Monday released new information about a controversial traffic enforcement operation last week that stretched across two counties, angered a local sheriff, and sent panic into some communities.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said the work on Highway 6 last Thursday in Grimes and Brazos Counties was the second of two recent operations in the area to identify vehicles and drivers in violation of state and federal laws.

DPS said it asked agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be on standby during the traffic stops.

On Monday, troopers said more than 60 individuals stopped during those operations were turned over to ICE and some of those arrested were people who have a violent criminal history.

According to DPS, some of the people detained by ICE have previous convictions including attempted murder, sexual assault of a child, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and sodomy of a child.

A spokesman for DPS said any additional information about those detainees would have to come from ICE. KBTX has reached out to a spokesman for the ICE offices in Houston for more specifics.

As a result of both operations, DPS said troopers stopped a total of 219 vehicles and issued 84 citations and 341 warnings. Additional enforcement actions that resulted from the operations include:

·Ten commercial motor vehicles placed out-of-service,

·22 speeding citations issued;

·Six criminal arrests for drug possession;

·One custody arrest for Driving While License is Invalid; and

·Three warrants served.

Last week the work on Highway 6 near Navasota sparked fears of a possible widespread roundup of immigrants who are in the country illegally.

Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell expressed disappointment with DPS and ICE after first learning of what was happening from concerned citizens.

"I'm the chief law enforcement officer of the county, and you should have a little professional courtesy to contact the sheriff when you have an operation. That way we can be part of it if we're needed or summoned or at least have an acknowledgment of it," said Sheriff Sowell.

The Brazos Sanctuary Network, or Red Migrante, was also in Navasota last week after learning about the traffic stops. Their representatives said they went to Grimes County to make sure people were being treated fairly by law enforcement.

You can watch our previous report


Last week KBTX received a statement from ICE after inquiring about the activity on Highway 6 near Navasota.

This is the statement released by ICE last week:
"Due to law-enforcement sensitivities, the agency will not offer specific details related to enforcement operations. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) routinely coordinates with our law enforcement partners here and throughout the nation as we have a shared commitment to serving our communities and promoting public safety."