More than 1,5000 structures are being demolished along the Texas border as part of a program called “Operation Crackdown.”
Led by the National Guard, the program works with the U.S. Border Patrol and local officials to destroy drug trafficking safe havens.
One of the last 15 homes to be demolished across town belonged to Oscar Galvan’s family. The 80-year-old house sitting in the west side of Laredo had been abandoned for at least 3 years after Galvan’s father-in-law was moved out.
“They broke into it, it was vandalized a couple of times,” said Galvan moments before his in-laws’ home was demolished. “All the families used to gather here for special occasions.”
“[For it] to come down in a couple of hours, you know?” Galvan paused to search for words.
When reality begins to set in, words are hard to find to describe a place that held memories for nearly 80 years and is set to be destroyed.
“My wife, my sister-in-law, they didn’t want to come. It was too emotional,” he said.
Galvan couldn’t help but to take a few last pictures of the home at the corner of Chicago and Main Street where his wife grew up.
“We had, you know, good times there,” he said.
While Galvan reminisced, some of the community members around him celebrated.
“We’re glad this is going on,” said Ramiro Rodriguez. “This is one step for our kids of our church. Since we’re on the west side, it’s the hardest area to work with. But we always see good things going our way and this is one of them today.”
According to officials, the once familial home had become host to a wide array of criminal activity. This posed an even greater risk to the community as the house sat in front of an elementary school.
“It was burglary, theft, narcotics use, a lot of suspicious activity,” said Laredo Police Chief Deputy Ricardo Gonzalez of how the home was being exploited.
While there’s no longer any walls that could speak of Galvan’s cherished times, it is also a place that can no longer be used for crime.
“We plan to continue to build something, so the tradition can continue,” said Galvan.