“This bill will help strengthen the Department of Justice’s historic security efforts on the Southwest Border. Over the past 18 months, this Administration and this Department have dedicated unprecedented personnel, technology, and resources to the border, with unprecedented results, and we will continue to focus our efforts on disrupting criminal organizations and the networks they exploit,” said Acting Deputy Attorney General Grindler.
The portion of the bill funding Justice Department agencies will allow for more than 400 new positions and the temporary deployment of up to 220 personnel along the border as part of what the Justice Department terms “its broader Southwest Border Strategy.” This includes:
* ATF Project Gunrunner Teams: Establishment of seven ATF Project Gunrunner teams comprised of special agents and industry operations investigators to target firearms trafficking along the Southwest Border;
* Target Drug Enforcement Efforts at the Cartels: Enhancing and increasing intelligence operations against drug cartels as well as adding 50 new positions in Southwest Border offices;
* FBI Hybrid Squads: Creation of five additional Hybrid Squads on the Southwest Border dedicated to combating the violent crime threat along the border and expanding intelligence collection efforts;
* Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF): Increased funding for the Southwest Border region including its seven OCDETF Strike Forces in the area to support investigations and prosecutions of high level Mexican drug cartels;
* U.S. Attorneys: Deployment of more than 30 prosecutors in targeted locations to provide additional prosecutorial resources dedicated to combating Southwest Border firearm and drug trafficking, and bulk cash smuggling;
* Criminal Division: Creation of 26 positions to review wiretap requests, along with mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) and extradition requests as well as to provide additional support for the investigation and prosecution of transnational gangs, firearms, and drug traffickers, and money launderers operating along the Southwest Border;
* USMS International Investigations: Deployment of more than 20 Deputy U.S. Marshals to support its international investigations, including establish offices in Mexico to address cross-border investigations and enhance USMS presence at El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC) to facilitate more intelligence-driving investigations;
* Immigration Litigation: Increased funding for Immigration Judge Teams to expedite the adjudication of removal proceedings involving criminal aliens;
* Prisons and Detention: Increased funding for contract beds and USMS personnel to accommodate prisoner levels; and
The Southwest Border Strategy uses federal prosecutor-led task forces that bring together all law enforcement components to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the Mexican drug cartels through investigation, prosecution, and extradition of their key leaders and facilitators, and seizure and forfeiture of their assets, said officials.
The Department of Justice is increasing its focus on investigations and prosecutions of the southbound smuggling of guns and cash that fuel the violence and corruption and attacking the cartels in Mexico itself, in partnership with the Procuraduría General de la República (PGR) and the Secretariat of Public Security (SSP), according to U.S. officials
As the largest law enforcement presence in Mexico with offices throughout, and a decades-long history of working with the Mexican government, the DEA has a strategic vantage point from which to assess the drug trafficking situation in Mexico, the related violence, its causes and its historical context.
Currently, DEA has nearly 29 percent of its domestic agent positions dedicated to combating drug trafficking organizations in the Southwest Border region. Project Deliverance, announced in June 2010, led to the arrest of more than 2,200 individuals on narcotics-related charges in the United States and the seizure of more than 74.1 tons of illegal drugs as part of a 22-month multi-agency law enforcement investigation.
In addition to the five new Hybrid Squads, the FBI is continuing to operate its National Border Corruption Task Force, with representatives from the FBI, Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General, U.S. Customs and Border Protection – Internal Affairs and TSA to guide and oversee border corruption programs across the country.
The U.S. Marshals Service has stepped-up its efforts along the Southwest border, deploying 94 additional Deputy U.S. Marshals and sending four additional deputies to Mexico City to assist the Marshals Service Mexico City Foreign Field Office in FY 2009, according to officials.
In addition to increased resources and funding, the Department of Justice is expected to continue supporting Mexican law enforcement through training programs. The Criminal Division’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance and Training (OPDAT) and others are providing real time hands-on training through seminars for investigators and prosecutors in Mexico on the investigation and prosecution of complex cases, as Mexico transitions to an adversarial system, according to DoJ officials.
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