Smaller drug dealers target of online tool

BROWNSVILLE — The Cameron County District Attorney’s office went live yesterday with an online tool residents can use to report suspected illegal drug-related activity — anonymously if they wish.

District Attorney Luis V. Saenz announced the new website,, at a press conference at the Cameron County Courthouse.

“Drugs are a big problem here,” he said. “We had a grand jury (Wednesday) and we had about 80 cases. About 60 of those cases were drug related.”

Residents can use the website’s form to report specific types of drugs and criminal activity suspected, location, time of day, persons involved, etc. Residents may also submit photos, and may include their own names and contact information if they wish, but aren’t required to, Saenz said.

“We don’t need to know who you are as long as you give us valid information,” he said. “The more information you give us, the better. We’ll take a look at the information given us and conduct an investigation if that’s where it leads us. We’ve worked really hard to make it user friendly.”

Saenz said similar websites have been used with great success in Harris, Bexar and other counties. It’s hoped the website will appeal to younger people accustomed to communicating online, he said.

“Crime Stoppers is good, but you have to pick up the phone,” Saenz said.

He said the focus of the new website is on smaller dealers rather than people moving large quantities of illegal drugs.

“Obviously DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) and CBP (Customs and Border Protection) do a good job in taking down the loads,” Saenz said. “But usually if you ask the housewife, if you ask the gentleman living down the street, it’s not the loads that they’re worried about, it’s the neighborhood dealing that they’re most worried about, because it impacts their family.

“It’s just another tool that we’re hoping will empower the public. We can’t ask them to help if we don’t give them the tools. Hopefully we’ll start receiving some tips.”