(Phoenix, Ariz. -- April 16, 2010) Law enforcement officials from the four Southwest border states -- Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas -- worked the past two days to take the first steps toward implementing the new Southwest Border Alliance, which is committed to prosecuting money-laundering and other crimes along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Alliance, formed as a result of the states' unprecedented settlement with Western Union earlier this year, has been charged with developing the strategy for law enforcement grants to block the flow of illegal money transfers that have facilitated human, drug and arms smuggling operations across the border.
The Western Union settlement will provide $50 million in grants to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the Southwest border area.
Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard addressed the group this morning, calling the Alliance "an historic opportunity for law enforcement to work cooperatively across state and national borders to fight and eliminate the international cartels that have fueled border violence."
This week's meeting, which included some 100 law enforcement officials from both the U.S. and Mexico, was focused on developing a comprehensive strategy to guide the grant-making process. A final plan, based on the information exchanged at this conference, will be announced in the coming weeks. The Alliance will solicit grant applications shortly after the strategy document has been adopted.