On September 1, 2015, at the direction of Governor Doug Ducey, the department initiated the Arizona Border Strike Force (BSF) Bureau, a new enforcement initiative within CID that not only targets border crimes but provides a comprehensive collaborative approach to help secure Arizona’s border and thwart transnational criminal organizations.
The initiative requires the department to improve its availability to address border related crimes including: drug trafficking, weapon smuggling, vehicle theft recovery, and violent criminal apprehension, as well as evaluating and analyzing criminal intelligence, and enhancing response capabilities in the border region.
The BSF utilizes existing infrastructure and partnerships with federal, state, county, tribal, and local law enforcement agencies in the border region. Partnerships among agencies will be leveraged for the purpose of conducting enforcement operations designed to interdict criminal activity in southern and central Arizona.
One objective of this initiative includes integrating and aligning the intelligence capabilities of partnering agencies. In addition, the BSF is integrating counter-network operations to identify and target transnational criminal organizations and illicit organizations while prioritizing investigative efforts to deter, disrupt, and dismantle criminal organizations.
The BSF is also strengthening international, prosecutorial and deterrent efforts against transnational criminal organizations, and focusing on unified communications and messaging efforts.
The BSF operations focus on roving criminal interdiction patrol details, intelligence-led remote area operations, outbound details, and deterrent saturation patrols to identify, deter, disrupt, and dismantle criminal organizations.
Working with the Alliance to Combat Transnational Threats (ACTT) and partnering agencies, the BSF conducted three significant and successful operations in FY 2016. These were: Operation Sidewinder in Pima and Maricopa Counties, Operation Bushmaster in Cochise County, and Operation Dome Valley in Yuma County.
Collectively, these operations were successful in interdicting 2,011 pounds of marijuana and 89 pounds of methamphetamine before the drugs could be disseminated throughout the country. In addition, 60 suspects were arrested and incarcerated for transportation of illegal drugs and $516,670 was seized under RICO statute, significantly disrupting transnational criminal activities.
The success of the Border Strike Force is predicated with the understanding that law enforcement working in partnership has a far better opportunity to make a difference than one agency working alone.
Specific units within the Border Strike Force Bureau include the Canine District, the Southern Narcotics District, GIITEM Southern District, and the Vehicle Theft District.