(PNS reporting from McALLEN, TX) Police departments throughout the Rio Grande Valley delivered pink slips en masse this week following news that Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán had been captured by Mexican authorities in the resort town of Mazatlan.
“It’s kind of a mixed bag for us,” Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño said. “On the one hand, illegal drugs are now utterly and completely vanquished from our streets. On the other, (Hidalgo County) Commissioners Court has already cut our budget for next year by 90 percent.”
Treviño, who was reached while fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, responded to Guzmán’s capture like many of his counterparts at all levels of law enforcement nationwide: by quietly folding his office’s entire narcotics unit and slashing the rest of the criminal investigations division from a staff of hundreds down to five full-time deputies.
“I mean, yeah, you might see a bar fight or a burglary every now and then, but I don’t see us ever needing to investigate any real crimes ever again,” the sheriff said. “My office is now basically nothing more than an outfit of glorified traffic enforcers.”
Local addicts, meanwhile, reported they’d lost the overwhelming need to use drugs.
“It was almost like magic,” said Romeo Gonzalez, 29, of McAllen. “I was literally on my way to stick up this Stripes so I could go pick up some crystal, but then I thought, like, ‘You know, I really don’t even want it that bad, maybe I should go do something else with my life.’ So I ended up driving right past the Stripes and went to the library and got signed up for a GED class.”
Other lives, though, seemed headed in the other direction.
“I’m worried,” said a now-former 12-year-veteran Mission police officer. “I’ve got bills, a mortgage. You try telling my kids they can’t go to Disney World after all because we won the War on Drugs. Doesn’t sound so good that way, does it?”
But it’s not just the salary and benefits the officer — who requested anonymity to speak candidly about past illegal activities — will miss.
“I used to double, triple my pay checks some months escorting drug loads. How am I supposed to make up that money now? Taking under-the-table cash from politicians to pass around my neighborhood in exchange for votes?”
The officer then remained silent for several seconds before abruptly ending the interview.
“Excuse me,” he said. “I have to make a phone call.”
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