With a special legislative session slated to begin next week, four members of the Texas House have outlined a plan to address alleged cartel activity in Colony Ridge—including a potential conservatorship over the county where the development is located.
Located northeast of Houston in Liberty County, the Colony Ridge housing development has been criticized for marketing to illegal aliens and potentially attracting cartel activity to the area. The development has gained the attention of Gov. Greg Abbott, who indicated last week that he would add the issue to an upcoming special session. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick also recently toured the area, noting that he and Abbott had spoken about holding hearings on the issue when the legislature convenes.
Now, State Reps. Steve Toth (R–The Woodlands), Nate Schatzline (R–Fort Worth), Brian Harrison (R–Midlothian), and Tony Tinderholt (R–Arlington) have created a plan they say will address cartel activity in the area.
In a letter to Abbott, Patrick, and Speaker Dade Phelan, the group of lawmakers say the threat to public safety is well documented. They cite comments from Liberty County Sheriff, Bobby Rader, who has said his department is overwhelmed with crime and drug overdoses in the Colony Ridge development.
They also point to a report from the Center for Immigration Studies that says “the Gulf and Sinaloa cartels invested in Colony Ridge from its earliest inception…financing lots for local operatives” in order to traffic drugs and people.
Additionally, Cleveland ISD—which serves the area—has reportedly seen an increase in drug overdoses suspected to be induced by fentanyl.
In response, the lawmakers suggest two plans of action.
1. Budgeting money necessary to establish a Department of Public Safety substation to multiply law enforcement presence in the Colony Ridge community.
2. Consider expanding the [special session] call to include legislation to place Liberty County under a state conservatorship, if facts warrant it.
The lawmakers say by establishing a conservatorship, “the State could coordinate law enforcement operations and county restrictions to clean up and clean out Colony Ridge.”
Abbott, Phelan, and Patrick did not respond to a request for comment before publication.
The special session is set to begin Monday, October 9.