PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey, joined by Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Colonel Frank Milstead, Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels, Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier and Chief Patrol Agent Rodolfo Karisch, today highlighted increased investments in the Arizona Border Strike Force for FY 2019.
Created at the direction of Governor Ducey in September of 2015, the Border Strike Force takes a collaborative approach to securing Arizona’s border by partnering with local, state, tribal and federal authorities to target border-related crimes.
Due to its success, the enacted FY 2019 budget invests an additional $2.9 million to expand Border Strike Force operations in critical areas around the state. The funding will help expand coverage to 24-hours-a-day, seven days-a week in response to shifting cartel behavior.
“We made a decision – if Washington D.C. wasn’t going to secure our border; Arizona would,” said Governor Ducey. “The Border Strike Force is without a doubt making Arizona – and America – a safer place, and it’s worthy of our continued investment.”
Through May of 2018, the Border Strike Force has seized:
- 60,641 pounds of marijuana;
- 14,249 prescription drug pills/capsules;
- 17.2 million hits of heroin;
- 173,885 rounds of ammunition;
- 300 firearms.
Border Strike Force operations have also led to 3,199 arrests.
“With every significant seizure made since 2015, communities across the United States are safer as a result,” said DPS Director Colonel Milstead. “The continued success of the Border Strike Force is predicated on the partnerships between state, federal, and local law enforcement working together. As long as transnational criminal organizations and other criminal enterprises work to infest Arizona and our nation with illegal drugs and violence, we will stand up to them and fulfill our mission to fight the narcoterrorism plaguing our country.”
“The Border Strike Force is an excellent example of how we can keep our communities safer through active collaboration between federal, state and local law enforcement,” said Sheriff Napier. “The lack of security on our southern border presents a clear danger to public safety. Under Governor Ducey’s leadership, we are all working together to meet these threats and enhance public safety.”
“In Cochise County, we have come together to develop a multi-agency community initiative to secure our border,” said Sheriff Dannels. “We have sent a strong message to the cartels: smuggling in Cochise County and in Arizona will not be tolerated. As a result, Cochise County is a safer, better place for our citizens, and I am proud to call Cochise County my home.”
“I thank Governor Ducey for his continued support of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection with not only resources from the Department of Public Safety but also from the National Guard who are currently deployed in a support role assisting the men and women of the Border Patrol here in Arizona,” said Chief Patrol Agent Karisch. “We all have a stake in strengthening border security because it is ultimately about national security and we must work together to keep Americans safe while improving the quality of life in the communities we serve.”