(Phoenix, Ariz. -- Sept. 29, 2010) Attorney General Terry Goddard announced today the first law enforcement grant from his $94 million recovery earlier this year from Western Union. The $418,000 grant will create an initiative to intercept guns and money moving across the Arizona border to the Mexican drug cartels. The initiative will fund personnel, training, specialized equipment, and dogs to be used by police agencies from Nogales to Tucson.
The money is coming from the Southwest Border Alliance, which was set up earlier this year to review applications and provide grants to state and local law enforcement agencies from a $50 million border security fund created as a result of the Western Union settlement. The fund is dedicated to investigating and prosecuting money-laundering, human-trafficking, drug-smuggling and arms-trafficking crimes.
"This grant is an important first step in bringing state and local law enforcement into the fight against border crime at a much higher level," Goddard said. "I am pleased that the money recovered from Western Union is being used as intended. Our $50 million border security fund will enable law enforcement agencies along the entire U.S.-Mexico border to develop new initiatives that will fight the cartels, attack the smuggling of guns, money, drugs and humans, and make our border more secure."
The Southwest Border Alliance met in April and formulated a strategy that is focused on the need to choke the Mexican cartels by stemming the flow of money and guns from the United States into Mexico. The first of those operations to be funded will focus on the south-bound currency and guns. It will involve Nogales Police Department, Tucson Police Department, Yuma Police Department, the Department of Public Safety, and all other agencies in the Nogales region who choose to participate. They will apply highway interdiction techniques that have been successful in other regions of the country and in Arizona. They will also emphasize training to avoid even the appearance of improper profiling.
Grant applications are evaluated by the Alliance's Executive Board, which includes representatives from the Attorney General's Offices of Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas, along with representatives from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions and the Phoenix Police Department. Each of the four Southwest border states is guaranteed at least $7 million in grants.
The historic settlement with Western Union includes $50 million for law enforcement initiatives on the Southwest Border, $21 million for support of Arizona law enforcement agencies, $19 million for improvements to Western's Union anti-money laundering programs, and $4 million for funding a court-appointed monitoring program.
For more information, contact Press Secretary Molly Edwards at (602) 542-8019.