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Task force turns up suspicious container on train

By DAVID TEWES
Aug. 25, 2010 at 3:25 a.m.


AGENCIES INVOLVEDLaw enforcement agencies on the scene were:

Orange Grove Police Department

Corpus Christi Police Department

Victoria Police Department

Victoria County Sheriff's Office

Immigration and Customs Enforcement

U.S. Border Patrol

Texas Rangers

DPS Aviation

Refugio County Sheriff's Office

Robstown Police Department

Three railroad police agencies from Union Pacific, Burlington Northern and Kansas City Southern

BLOOMINGTON - A task force looking for contraband on trains passing through the rail yard here may or may not have come up with something.

"We found one container that we're interested in," said Lt. Russell Sherman, with the Corpus Christi Police Department. "But due to the nature of the container, we weren't able to open it."

He said officials planned to take it to a rail yard where it could be opened, but he didn't know when that would happen.

Officers from multiple law enforcement agencies set up something similar to a traffic checkpoint, only this one was for trains passing through the Bloomington rail yard.

The checkpoint was operated Monday and Tuesday evenings. Sherman said canines were used to inspect the trains and when they indicated a possible problem, the train cars where investigated.

They were looking for drugs, weapons, humans or anything that could be smuggled by train.

But Sherman said the container was the only thing officers found. He said he didn't know what type of container it was.

Sherman said Bloomington was chosen because of the rail yard and most of the trains searched had scheduled stops there.

Deputy Chief Roy Boyd, with the Victoria Police Department, said the operation was headed up by Union Pacific and Kansas City Southern. The other departments were there to provide support.

Boyd said three Victoria police officers were there, including himself and two officers with dogs.

Richard L. Jones, border liaison officer for the Department of Public Safety, did not return the Advocate's phone calls.

Boyd and Chief Deputy Terry Simons, with the Victoria County Sheriff's Office, said as far as they know, this is the first time an operation like this has been conducted in Victoria County.

"It's the first time I've heard of anything like this happening within our region," Boyd said. And it may not be the last.

"Tuesday night was the last night for this week," Simons said. "But we will be operating again in the future."

He said that's why he couldn't discuss the details for fear of tipping off the criminals shipping contraband by rail.

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