Police Department Called Away From Fighting Drug Cartels To Deal With Spring Break

Drug cartels are known for causing chaos in society, but so are college students. The annual influx of college students to South Padre Island in Texas has caused the police to temporarily stop doing work against the cartels and to focus on the behavior of their annual visitors according to a report:

Scantily clad girls baring their breasts for strings of beads, sunburnt boys chugging cans of beers through bongs and clouds of vape smoke hanging over the formerly pristine sand: this is March in South Padre Island.

Spring Break sees the sleepy island community of just over 5,000 people transformed as an estimated 100,000 college kids descend for long days of boozing on the beach.

For businesses and the city itself, the influx means a bumper payday with students spending $3.1 million on alcohol alone last year and providing South Padre with an overall windfall of $33.9 million.

But DailyMail.com can reveal that the overwhelming numbers mean the local police department has to draft in officers from other Texas cities – among them border towns such as Los Indios.

Scantily clad girls baring their breasts for strings of beads, sunburnt boys chugging cans of beers through bongs and clouds of vape smoke hanging over the formerly pristine sand: this is March in South Padre Island.

Spring Break sees the sleepy island community of just over 5,000 people transformed as an estimated 100,000 college kids descend for long days of boozing on the beach.

For businesses and the city itself, the influx means a bumper payday with students spending $3.1 million on alcohol alone last year and providing South Padre with an overall windfall of $33.9 million.

But DailyMail.com can reveal that the overwhelming numbers mean the local police department has to draft in officers from other Texas cities – among them border towns such as Los Indios.

Other law enforcement agencies to send staff include the Cameron County Sheriff and Constable, while more hard-pressed police departments such as Brownsville only send cops if a serious crime such as a rape takes place.

Brownsville is directly across the Mexican border from Matomoros; the home of the Golfos Cartel and their multinational narcotics network.

But although Los Indios, 16 miles west, does see murders – the most recent four days ago – Chief De La Rosas says his department mainly deals with drug smuggling, as well as routine traffic stops.

He told DailyMail.com that his part of the border is currently quiet with regards to human trafficking but said he would welcome President Trump’s plan to close the gaps in the existing fence just to help stem the flow of drugs.

‘Right now, in this area it’s really calm,’ De La Rosas said. ‘Sometimes we see a lot of narcotics but human smuggling is usually really low.

‘But if we close these gaps in the wall we have right now, of course that will help. Illegal narcotics are never going to stop – they will find different ways to come into the United States but at least it will stop some of it.’

In South Padre, the focus is more on keeping college students out of trouble and mitigating the worst of their excesses, according to the island’s police chief and interim city manager Randy Smith.

‘Whenever you have a high impact time, you expect a rise in crime in every category but typically, we expect simple intoxication, drunkenness,’ Smith told DailyMail.com.

‘We’ll have some minor theft, petty theft. We have a lot of police reports that we do for lost property, lost cellphones, wallets, that kind of thing.’

He added: ‘We hire in a lot of extra officers. Our officers are all hands on deck. Then we also have state, local and federal officers that do come and assist us.’

City figures show that during last year’s Spring Break period which is defined as being from March 1 to April 30, cops were called to a total of 1,154 incidents and made 738 arrests.

Of the arrests, 593 were categorized as Class C misdemeanors such as public intoxication while the remaining 145 involved more serious crimes such as drug possession and carrying a prohibited weapon.

The biggest spike in calls came during the Sunday of Texas Week – when huge numbers of students from local colleges arrive – amounting to a 32 percent increase on the previous weekend.

Texas Week also sees the arrival of a 33-bed mobile hospital, which is set up at the local convention center and means casualties don’t have to make the 30-mile journey to the nearest medical center in Brownsville.

The tented complex, which costs $35,326 to run, comes complete with 24 medics and is served by eight ambulances carrying 16 EMTs.

For De La Rosas, Spring Break means giving his officers a chance to experience a different kind of policing that isn’t focused on the border and likes to work South Padre shifts himself.

He told DailyMail.com: ‘Here we’re dealing with border issues but there we’re dealing with people from out of state coming in and partying so it is a different experience.

‘I like it for the officers to get that kind of experience so they can see what the difference is.’

Of the Spring Breakers, he added: ‘I understand they want to party and they want to have fun. But we’re kind of trying to guide them to a way where you have fun but there is limits to it.’

Smith, whose department is charged with overseeing the event, says the students are welcome – despite all the extra work.

‘Spring Break is one of our signature events,’ he said.

‘We are very happy to try and attract our colleges from here in Texas and throughout the United States and show them we are a great location for students to come and relax and get away from all the hard work.

He added: ‘I want to tell students, come have fun, relax from the books and just know we’re here for you. We do look forward to it – it’s fun for us as well.’

Most of the South Padre fun is concentrated in two locations: a stretch of sand in front of the Isla Grand Hotel called Rockstar Beach and Clayton’s Beach Bar.

During Spring Break, both see a heavy police presence with cops watching the partying students from ATVs parked on the sand or from the deck at Clayton’s.

In the 2018 season, Clayton’s saw the highest number of medical call-outs at 54 while the Isla Grand required EMTs 37 times.

Smith says most of the students will never come into contact with cops and are free to party to their heart’s content – so long as it doesn’t involve illegal drugs or underage drinking.

On Sunday, Rockstar Beach was packed with college kids guzzling booze through beer bongs, dancing girls and cheerleaders indulging in ‘stunt-offs’.

Brooke Patterson, 21, of the University of Kansas, said she was having a wonderful time. ‘The whole week is full of people who just don’t give a f***,’ she enthused. ‘Come here right now, get lit with your friends – it’s the best vacation ever!’

Kristin Gambardella, 21, of Austin, Texas, added: ‘Look around; it’s great. I’ve seen a lot of people passed out in the sand and people doing stunt-offs which is pretty cool.

‘That’s when cheerleaders from dueling schools have stunt offs.’

But while most of the kids were hanging out with friends and drinking on the sand, there were some more outrageous antics.

Among them was ‘a**-luging’ – where beer is poured over a girl’s backside to be drunk by a boy – while men were seen handing out beads in exchange for a look at and a squeeze of some of the women’s breasts.

Some of the boys told DailyMail.com that the main reason they came to South Padre is to pick up women.

‘I came here because I heard these guys have got the littest beach anywhere,’ said 22-year-old Jack Snarich, of Iowa. I came to South Padre to get f***ed up and honestly, to have sex.’

His friend Hassan Boyer, 20, of Northern Illinois University, concurred. ‘I came to South Padre to do the exact same thing,’ he said.

‘We’re going to make that baby and meet 30 years later.’

Over at Clayton’s, which puts on a free beach party complete with dancing competitions every day, the sand was crammed with kids, many waving fraternity flags.

Surveying the scene was owner Clayton Brashear, 58, who told DailyMail.com that Spring Break is crucial for the island economy.

Brashear, who is in the middle of a run for mayor of the city, said: ‘It creates a lot of jobs – we get a lot of people coming down here from all over the country.

‘Young people, old people, families – it brings a lot of income to South Padre Island.’

To keep them coming in, he hosts a series of concerts during Spring Break – mostly by hip hop stars such as this year’s performers Trippie Redd, 21 Savage and Cardi B.

He also hands out cash prizes to the usually female performers in the daily twerking and wet t-shirt contests and provides space for stands selling beads and giving out free henna and braiding sessions.

For the police who stand guard over the events, it means a long night of work but Smith says his officers generally enjoy patrolling Spring Break events, telling DailyMail.com they look forward to March.

He added: ‘It’s fun for us. We enjoy working and meeting visiting people. We like it when they come back with their families all those years later and they remember us – it’s a lot of fun.’

De La Rosas says he also enjoys his time away from the border and said the trick to handling Spring Breakers is showing ‘a lot of patience like we’re dealing with little kids’.

To students, he added: ‘Have fun and make sure you get an Uber driver or a taxi.’

Next month, the Spring Breakers will be gone and he and the rest of his officers will be back on the border and on the frontline of the fight against the cartels.

‘Of course there is going to be criminal activities [connected to the cartels],’ he told DailyMail.com.

‘It’s impossible to stop that completely but we try to be visible to the public, do patrols and traffic stops.

‘We don’t really get worried about the cartels too much but we do have the expertise here to deal with those narcotic cases if we need to.’ (source)

Now in fairness to the story, this has been going on for many years. The influx of students is not new, and it is clear the island has little problem with them coming because they view their presence as a form of generating revenue.

However, it is interesting that these students are so wild in an area that is very dangerous and in the range of the Golfos Cartel, which is known to engage in savage forms of torture and beheadings, and that it is a proven fact the cartels are increasingly moving into tourist areas, which also naturally includes many of the places where Spring Break party goers travel to.

It is already bad enough to speak of what happens there during this time. The open hedonism, debauchery, and disordered behavior is not something to be proud of, but is a national disgrace as it is a reflection of the morality of the people. Such attitudes do not simply die away, but travel with the people and change forms while retaining their potency unless a serious and personal decision is made to act in a way to the contrary.

Some wonder if a cartel actually attacked the area- an act which would be objectively horrible -that it would change the general social attitude to the area.

I answer, in the context of contemporary US culture, based on the example of New Orleans.

If these and other small islands are “seasonal” party centers, New Orleans is the party city of America that when the sun goes down, the bottles of alcohol and questionable clubs open and turn the French Quarter into a miniature American Sodom. This had been going on for years, and was interrupted by the destruction of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The city was rebuilt, albeit with difficulty. However, did the partying stop, or at least reduce to some degree because perhaps men may have feared that the Hurricane was a punishment permitted by God to compel them to amend their ways?

I was in New Orleans around May 2014 for a job interview (which thankfully did not go through), and being there I made a point to visit the French Quarter and some bars I had heard about. It was quite an interesting experience, similar to walking through a garbage dump.

The roads had to be sanitized each morning to cleanse the vomit, urine, and other filth from each of the previous nights. During the day, the partying areas are filled with homeless drunkards and generally are not pleasant to be in. The partying areas at night are busy, filled with drunken people looking for sex and willing to do almost anything to get it, whether or not you are interested in it or not. This happened to me multiple times, the most memorable of which when I though I was being robbed but in reality it was a very intoxicated and very friendly woman who was seeking action. What makes it even better is that this happened when I was standing in like waiting to buy a slice of pizza. I remember thinking to myself that this place was so out-of-control that I could not even buy a slice of pizza without running into uninvited trouble.

(For those who are wondering, the only thing I took back to my room that night was one of those souvenir mugs they serve alcohol in and the last remnants of my pizza. I wanted to eat my food in peace.)

Another thing that I remember from New Orleans was the large amount of voodoo/macumbe-type things present. I speak not only of the tourist attractions, but the simple presence of Voodoo in the city. In the words of the person I was interviewing for the job with, she said that there were certain areas in the city which she named and showed me that she said none go into save but to pass through during the day. I asked why, and she said it is because the “voodoo people” will sometimes kidnap, murder, and eat people who go in that are “outsiders,” and she added that most of the times that they eat “their own.”

One of the most memorable things from that trip was the visit to the Cathedral of St. Louis IX of France. I attended mass and while there was able to meet with some of the people, who genuinely seemed to be some very sincere Catholics who had a strength within their Faith. It was as though being surrounded by the strong and present darkness in that city had also strengthened them in ways that one could tell.

When I walked outside of the Church, there were many women sitting at various tables opposite the church across the front square, calling out and offering voodoo services and conjuring. They did not attempt to enter into the church or cross the square, but it was interesting to watch.

Likewise, another interesting thing to note is the presence of voodoo around the city. Strange patterns or drawings of a particular nature, coins left in certain patterns, or other objects were signs of it. Many of them were left near or were drawn on the walls of Catholic Churches, clearly not by the church but the locals.

I though that it was amazing how even after the destruction of the city, the many of the inhabitants seemed not to care at all about what happened, but insisted on following their previous ways of life. Given how New Orleans continues to sink into Lake Pontchartrain, I thought how were it not for the good Catholic faithful who I met there, it is entirely possible that whole city would have been permitted to sink to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. And yet, there are fewer and fewer there, as many of them have left that city following the Hurricane and have moved inland.

If the numbers continue to decrease, who will be left to say mass in and pray for that place, that will restrain the hand of justice from giving her a final and crushing blow?

In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus tells the story of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man lives well, dies and goes to hell, and Lazarus is carried to the bosom of Abraham. Having been forever condemned, Lazarus asks Abraham to visit his brothers, and Abraham tells him that it does not even matter if a man from the dead should visit them if they so choose not to care:

“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.

When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.

And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’

Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’

He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.’

But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’

He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’ (Luke 16:19-31)

This is a lesson to us all- that some people simply do not care, and will not care even in the face of manifest danger or evil about the consequence of their actions.

As such, when one looks at the hedonism in South Padre Island and the danger of the cartels, one must wonder, if a cartel did attack, would the care still be there in the future about such an event repeating?

It would not, most likely, and the same evils would persist including all of the debauchery and disorder.

When taken to a social level, one must wonder about society.

Would America change her ways, or persist in following the errors of the past?

So far, the latter is what seems to be the pattern.

Hence, why it is for the prudent man to accept that not only are things likely not to change, but only to worsen, and it is for he who does understand to prepare for the future, rather than live in the moment and be caught off guard, since the consequences may be dire.