Phoenix -The Arizona-Mexico border provides the perfect storm in relation to drug trafficking, human smuggling and other illicit activity. No border state has as much on the line as Arizona. California has a wall and New Mexico has mountain ranges. Mexican drug cartel boss “El Chapo” Guzman was recently quoted boasting that his organization is the number one smuggler of Heroin into the U.S.
In the United States, we have seen a marked increase in heroin use with overdose rates quadrupling from 2002 to 2013. Still, the good news is drug interdiction rates are on the rise as well. Seizures of heroin and methamphetamine in Arizona increased 223 percent and 225 percent between fiscal years 2010 and 2014.
In September 2015, the Border Strike Force was created, a partnership between local, state, and federal law enforcement that’s providing a force multiplier in the fight against drug cartels and border crime. This same cooperative effort includes working with public safety officials in the State of Sonora, Mexico just south of Arizona.
The Arizona Border Strike Force is a comprehensive strategy that encompasses all aspects of drug enforcement. “Law enforcement efforts alone will not succeed until America’s insatiable appetite for drugs is addressed,” said Col. Frank Milstead, Director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety. “Education, rehabilitation and partnerships to focus on the humanitarian crisis must be mobilized as well.”
The plan for the Border Strike Force was submitted to all our partners that deal with the lasting effects of criminal drug trafficking, human and sex trafficking, gun violence, kidnappings and sexual assault. “This initiative brings to the table a combined cooperative effort of law enforcement on both sides of the border to go after heroin and methamphetamine drug traffickers with a long term goal of making all our communities safer,” said Col. Frank Milstead.