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Goddard in Washington to Advocate for Border Security, Luke AFB

(Phoenix, Ariz. – July 15, 2009) Attorney General Terry Goddard is in Washington, D.C. today to advocate for improved federal support combating one of Arizona’s greatest challenges, border violence. Goddard will also meet with a top Air Force official to express support for Luke Air Force Base as the home of the future F-35 joint strike fighter.  

Today, Goddard will meet with senior officials from the U.S. Treasury Department, including Chip Poncey, Director of the Office of Strategic Policy for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes. Goddard will urge the Department to crack down on methods used by cartels to smuggle criminal proceeds from the U.S. into Mexico.  

Specifically, Goddard will advocate for improved transparency in the use of “stored value cards.” These cards, which use technology similar to retail store gift cards, are not yet recognized by the federal government as a form of currency. Because of this loophole, smugglers are moving millions of dollars across the U.S.-Mexico border in cards pre-loaded with thousands of dollars at a time, without any penalties. Goddard wants federal Treasury regulators to classify these cards as a form of currency and require that they be formatted in a way that law enforcement can identify how much money is stored on them.

This is the third time this year that Goddard or his staff has been invited to brief senior Obama Administration officials on anti-money laundering techniques that will help choke off the flow of funds to Mexican drug cartels. In May, Assistant Attorney General Cameron Holmes provided a similar briefing to Treasury Secretary Geithner and other members of the Treasury Department’s Banking Secrecy Advisory Group.    

Last month, Goddard met with several Homeland Security officials, including Alan Bersin, Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Special Representative for Border Affairs, and John Morton, Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, to discuss border security tactics pioneered in Arizona. At that meeting, Bersin complimented Goddard “for taking a lead among the states” in the fight against border crime.    

Goddard will also meet with new U.S. Air Force General Counsel Charles Blanchard to voice his support for making Luke Air Force Base the home of the new F-35 strike fighter. Goddard will brief Blanchard on the status of his lawsuit which succeeded in stopping Maricopa County from issuing residential building permits in the high noise and high accident potential zones surrounding Luke AFB and its auxiliary fields. 

For more information, contact Anne Hilby at (602) 542-8019.