Police: Up to 28 held captive in Austin trailer
AUSTIN — Austin police said they’ve broken what they suspect was one of the biggest human smuggling operations the city had seen in recent years, holding as many as 28 adults against their will in a trailer.
Assistant Police Chief Troy Gay said a tip led officers to the trailer Tuesday afternoon in a mobile home park in southeast Austin. A police tactical squad arrived and found 28 adults — some with hands tied, some with injuries.
Gay said it wasn’t immediately clear which of the 28 were captives and which were captors.
All were being questioned by police. However, Officer Veneza Bremmer says 26 left the trailer voluntarily while two refused to emerge until tear gas was used to rout them. They were taken to an Austin hospital for treatment.
Planned Parenthood to open $5M abortion clinic
SAN ANTONIO — Planned Parenthood will open a $5 million abortion clinic in San Antonio that adheres to strict new standards adopted last year by Texas lawmakers, according to an official with the organization.
Planned Parenthood South Texas President and CEO Jeffrey Hons said at a fundraising event Monday that the facility will follow new ambulatory surgical standards.
He said $3.5 million was raised so far for construction.
An estimated 16 clinics across the state have closed since the new law went into effect, according to the San Antonio Express-News. Additional clinics are expected to close in the coming months.
The law includes a stipulation that clinic doctors have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.
Senator blasts Juvenile Justice Department
AUSTIN — A state senator called the Texas Juvenile Justice Department a broken agency on Thursday, while a separate committee considered no longer treating 17-year-olds as adults in criminal cases.
Houston Democrat John Whitmire, chairman of the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee, said the state agency is spending $129,000 a year per detainee, while having a 77 percent re-arrest rate and a 48 percent re-incarceration rate.
Texas lawmakers have moved in recent years to shut down juvenile detention facilities and shift young offenders into community rehabilitation programs.
But Whitmire said 1,050 juveniles remain in the state system, which he complained also fails to sufficiently segregate violent from nonviolent offenders, or 14-year-olds from 17-year-olds.
New Braunfels to appeal overturning of ‘can ban’
NEW BRAUNFELS — Leaders of a Hill Country city have decided to appeal a court ruling that struck down an anti-litter “can ban” for tubers on rivers.
The New Braunfels City Council voted Monday night to appeal the order that overturned the city’s ban on disposable food and beverage containers on rivers within the city limits.
Judge Don Burgess in January announced he was granting summary judgment to river outfitters and a beer distributor, who challenged the 2012 law.
Burgess on Friday signed an injunction that clears the way for disposable containers to again be allowed on the Comal and Guadalupe rivers.