YUMA, Ariz- Over the years drug smuggling and other crimes have been a huge issue across our borders and Gov. Doug Ducey is looking to put an end to it.
Ducey is calling for tens of millions of dollars in state money and federal grants and equipment to permanently fund the fight against border-related criminal activity by creating a strike force.
The group would collaborate with agencies across the state including Yuma County law enforcement agencies.
Yuma local, Fred Cuming said, “They have huge drug issue here in the Desert Southwest. I grew up near the border and spent 20 plus years down there.”
Yuman Tim Painter said, “Well it’s unfortunate that they state has to spend money and resources to be doing what the federal government should be doing. But because the federal government isn’t doing what they should then I support him 100%.”
Ducey reached out to Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot in a letter asking to work together in combatting border related crimes.
In the letter, Ducey states the goal of the border strike force is to bolster YCSO’s current efforts and to build and design innovative strategies and work groups to effectively deter, disrupt and dismantle border related crimes.
Under Ducey’s plan, the Department of Public Safety’s Bureau would grow to about 180 troopers, analysts, pilots and county personnel, who would operate in southern and central Arizona along with a small number of national guard troops.
This would mean state troopers and canine units would conduct more-frequent patrols of highways, and authorities would target drug scouts, traffickers and distributors in key trafficking.
Painter said, “It’s a long time coming. I mean this is something that should’ve happened years and years ago. but what can you say better late then never I guess.”
One local resident adds, “I think there’s a lot of people that do a very good job and don’t get a lot of credit and they should. So I don’t think that it’s a long time coming I think it’s just a continuation of the good work that they do.”
Sheriff Wilmot responds to Ducey’s strike force plan. Wilmot thinks DPS officers should work with the Yuma County Narcotics Task Force. He also believes we should focus on putting money into DPS helicopters that will be in high use once the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma Search and Rescue Unit is disbanded.