(The Center Square) – San Antonio Police Chief Bill McManus touted the success of a joint operation conducted between police department officers and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers in apprehending a street takeover group.
Gov. Greg Abbott also lauded the operation, pointing to a new law that went into effect to help law enforcement officers.
After “a street takeover group foolishly showed up” in San Antonio, McManus said, “We were waiting for them!” SAPD officers, working with DPS troopers, made arrests and seized unlawfully carried guns and vehicles for forfeiture, he said.
He also warned street takeover groups, “You’re not welcome here! Don’t come back!”
The multi-agency operation occurred in the central and westside of San Antonio on Jan. 5 and 6. SAPD’s covert detectives, Street Crimes Unit, DWI Unit, SWAT, K9, Helicopter Unit (EAGLE), and SAFFE officers were involved. Three vehicles were impounded and four people were charge with reckless driving traffic violations, unlawfully carrying a weapon, evading arrest in a vehicle, and possession of a controlled substance, according to the SAPD.
While involved in the operation, SAPD covert detectives also witnessed another crime being committed and arrested one man and three juveniles on attempted robbery charges, San Antonio Express News reported.
Last July, Abbott signed two bills into law increasing penalties for illegal street racing and enabling law enforcement officers to impound vehicles. This was after he last February created a street takeover task force to apprehend criminals who were increasingly obstructing roads, driving recklessly, causing violence and endangering the public and law enforcement officers.
Street takeovers are described as large groups of people taking over intersections, roads or parking lots and drivers oftentimes performing donuts, burn-outs or speeding.
Within months of creating the task force, DPS reported they’d made 52 arrests statewide, including 18 felony arrests and 40 misdemeanors. DPS Criminal Investigation Division investigators also worked to get intelligence on planned street takeovers and worked with the Austin Police Department to stop them from happening.
As APD and SAPD have been arresting street takeover groups aggressively since last February, McManus said the new law has helped their efforts even more. Referring to the bill that became law, he said, “HB 2889 gives police the right to impound the cars of those charged with street racing or reckless driving, whether it’s a felony or misdemeanor. HB 1442 allows agencies to seize the cars of those involved in reckless driving and racing.”
Abbott praised their efforts on social media, saying, “This is the way. We won’t allow lawlessness on our streets.”