By GRACE GADDY
Palestine City Council members heard updates of progress in the Palestine Drug Enforcement Unit during the first council meeting of the year on Monday.
Palestine Police Lt. James Muniz gave a powerpoint presentation revealing progress in operations, which included details of arrests made, recovered property and patrol activities. Operations involved joint efforts with the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Anderson County Sheriff's Department.
Muniz said the unit had “direct effect on closing five drug houses and making 10 arrests” within the area.
“We did that ourselves,” Muniz said, adding that three additional arrests were made with the DEA.
“The DEU was able to identity several suspects and additional drug houses,” he said, adding that the unit has developed relationships with confidential informants who will continue to assist in operations.
Muniz said the unit had made several drug purchases “to ensure there was drug activity going on” and was able to seize a number of illegal substances including crack cocaine, PCP and marijuana. In joint efforts with the DEA, the unit was also able to seize stolen property, which included a laptop, a 53-inch TV and more, as well as five vehicles — two of which were awarded to the city for use by the Palestine Police Department. Muniz said cases were pending for what would become of the other vehicles.
Muniz said the unit has begun operations for the new fiscal year and is looking to begin warrant services within the week, assisting the Texas DPS drug force.
“It doesn’t stop here,” Muniz said. “We’ve got some things in the works.”
In other business, the council:
• APPROVED a contract between the City of Palestine and Palestine YMCA.
• APPROVED an expenditure to repair Raw Water Service Pump # 2 (300HP) at the Raw Water Pump Station.
• APPROVED an expenditure to build an office suite for Sanderson Farms at Palestine Mall.
• APPROVED a lease agreement with Sanderson Farms at Palestine Mall.
• APPROVED authorizing the city manager to enter into a contract with Texas School Safety Center Tobacco Program.
The Palestine City Council meets twice a month at Palestine City Hall, located at 504 N. Queen St. in Palestine.