PHOENIX – The Arizona Border Strike Force continues to protect Arizona communities by stopping the flow of criminals, narcotics, weapons, and ammunition trafficked in the state.
At the direction of Governor Ducey, the Border Strike Force was created in September 2015 to target border crimes and take a collaborative approach to help secure Arizona’s southern border.
In his 2018 State of the State address, Governor Ducey said:
“We made a decision: If Washington, D.C. wasn’t going to secure our border, Arizona would. [The Border Strike Force] is without a doubt making Arizona – and America – a safer place, and it’s worthy of our continued investment.”
Housed within the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Border Strike Force focuses on identifying and dismantling border-related criminal activity through collaboration with local, state, tribal, federal, and Mexican authorities.
Notable Border Strike Force successes include Operation Sidewinder II & III, operations that led to the seizure of 5,084 pounds of marijuana and 52 felony arrests, and Operation Organ Grinder, which resulted in the seizure of 4,038 pounds of marijuana and 73 felony arrests.
Through January 2018, the Border Strike Force has seized:
- 53,156 pounds of marijuana;
- 7,843 prescription drug pills/capsules;
- 12.4 million hits of heroin;
- 35 pounds of fentanyl;
- 258 firearms;
- 167,900 rounds of ammunition;
- And $10,000,000 in currency.
Border Strike Force operations have also resulted in over 2,480 arrests.
Due to its success, Governor Ducey’s fiscal year 2019 Executive Budget includes $2.9 million to expand Border Strike Force operations in response to shifting cartel behavior. The new funding aims to establish 24-hours-a-day, seven days-a week coverage in the critical areas of Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz, and Yuma counties.