A little before dawn on a sticky summer night in June, one of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s Ranger Reconnaissance Teams was running a clandestine operation along the Rio Grande when its surveillance squad came across a Dodge Durango pickup truck loaded with bales of Mexican marijuana. Bad idea, messing with Texas. 37 Comments Weigh InCorrections? inShare Gallery The Texas governor is seeking the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. Gallery Mexico's ongoing drug war continues to claim lives and disrupt order in the country. More On This Story Read more on PostPolitics.com Rick Perry a hawk on Texas border security Perry and Romney dominate GOP fundraising Cain defends ‘9-9-9’ tax overhaul plan View all Items in this Story The lawmen chased the truck along the river, with a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter swooping overhead and Texas game wardens roaring down the Rio Grande in boats, state authorities said. In minutes, the traffickers had ditched the truck in the muddy water and were rafting the dope back to Mexico. Then the shooting started. Alone among his Republican rivals running for president, the Texas governor has a small army at his disposal. Over the past three years, he has deployed it along his southern flank in a secretive, military-style campaign that his supporters deem absolutely necessary and successful and that his critics call an overzealous, expensive and mostly ineffective political stunt. A hawk when it comes to Mexican cartels, Perry said in New Hampshire this month that as president he would consider sending U.S. troops into Mexico to combat drug violence there and stop it from spilling into the United States. The June incident along the Rio Grande was typical of Perry’s border security campaign: a lot of swagger, with mixed results. The initial news release said the Texas Rangers team came “under heavy fire” by members of the Gulf cartel, though officials later said it was “four to six shots.” The Texas Rangers and their multi-agency task force, which included U.S. Border Patrol agents, returned fire — big time — lighting up the Mexican riverbank with 300 rounds. “You shoot a police officer, you’re going to get shot back at,” said Steven McCraw, Perry’s homeland security chief and director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.