The Harris County Toll Road Authority cites more than 1,100 drivers for counterfeit tags in March

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) – The Harris County Toll Road Authority issued more than 1,100 subpoenas to drivers with fraudulent paper license plates in March.

In January, they launched the “Tag You’re It” campaign targeting these drivers.

SEE ALSO: Deputy constables will start looking for drivers with fake paper license plates on toll roads

HCTRA’s Sergeant Alex Gonzalez said they are extending the program based on their success and the scale of the problem.

Since Toll Roads MPs stepped up their efforts on the 128 miles under their jurisdiction, they report a 44% drop in the number of fictitious tags.

“The general public can see how we’re pulling people on the toll road all the time, and they’re going to see a lot of these time stamps, and we’re stopping them,” Gonzalez said.

He said that in addition to issuing drivers tickets for their tags, they have recovered stolen vehicles, identified victims who unknowingly bought stolen cars, released warrants and sent dozens of people to jail.

In March, six of the 20 people they took to prison led MPs in a chase. All six were taken into custody.

“Since (the license plate) doesn’t return to the vehicle, unless we catch them, we’ll never know what they were involved in or why they run away,” Gonzalez said.

The stops have also led them to two suspected people smugglers that US Marshals were looking for this month.

HCTRA has tried to raise awareness of the campaign since launch, and Gonzalez said it has worked.

“About two weeks ago, we actually stopped a Dodge Challenger that actually had a fictitious label,” he explained. “The person who stole that Challenger or was involved in the theft of that Challenger actually put a hard plate on there because he knew we stop people on the toll road for fictitious tags.”

The Toll Roads Authority said it saw a spike in fictitious tags early in the pandemic in 2020, when Gov. Abbott waived vehicle registrations and had to close tax offices. They called it the “perfect storm.”

“We will fight these fictitious tags for as long as it takes while hopefully not seeing a single fictitious tag in the system, on the toll road, or in the county,” Gonzalez said.

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Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. All rights reserved. The Harris County Toll Road Authority cites more than 1,100 drivers for counterfeit tags in March

Dais Johnston

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