2017-04-12 / Editorial & Columns

Editorial Opinion:

Questions for our Sheriff from a tax payer
By Paul Whitworth,
Editor & Publisher

Next time you see Sheriff Larry Spence, ask him this question. “Sheriff, when are you going to do something about illegal gambling in Willacy County?”

It may take you a while to catch up with our Sheriff, however. He doesn’t seem to spend much time here, between his membership in the sheriffs’ associations that Texas and the Southwest have to offer.

Recently, our sheriff was in Austin hobnobbing with all the other Texas sheriffs in their 10 gallon Stetson hats. And Texas sheriffs also have their state conventions where they wine and dine celebrities like movie star Robert Duval

Last Thursday there was a citizens meeting in Sebastian to discuss the 8- Liner problem. Our Sheriff wasn’t there because he was out of town, at another one of his Sheriff’s junkets.

In addition to the Texas Sheriffs’ Association, Sheriff Spence belongs to the Border Sheriffs’ Association. They rotate their meetings between Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Supposedly, they are working on problems common to them all, border crime, drug smuggling and illegal immigration. In reality, these meeting are likely about camaraderie, swapping stories, a few good meals and maybe some cocktails. (Our Sheriff doesn’t drink.)

In other words, these conventions are job perks paid for by the state and federal grants the border States get from the federal government. I wouldn’t care about this if our sheriff’s duties at home were being taken care of.

Our county is being destroyed by illegal gambling. You know it, I know it and our Sheriff know it. Yet, nothing is being done about it. The gamblers have been run out of almost every county in Texas and Willacy County seems to have a “Welcome” sign hanging in the window for them.

How is this possible? In one of the poorest counties in the country we have a dozen casinos sucking the money out of the pockets of people who are mostly living on welfare.

On week nights you can count up to 500 cars parked in front of the casinos. On week ends it may be as many as one thousand. Estimates are they clear $8,000 - $12,000 a day each on average.

I’ve asked these questions of our sheriff before and I am asking them again.

1. How often do you go into the casinos to make sure they are following the gambling laws of the state of Texas?

2. How is it that the Raymondville Police Dept.can raid the casinos and shut them down, while the Sheriff’s Dept. sits back and watches the casinos multiply?

3. Why don’t you ask Cameron County D. A. Luis Saenz to bring his task force in to clean up this mess?

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