TUCSON, Ariz. – Since the beginning of fiscal year 2017 (Oct. 1, 2016) local law enforcement agencies in southern Arizona have been instrumental in working with the Department of Homeland Security to combat transnational criminal organizations by arresting hundreds of criminals and seizing millions of dollars’ worth of narcotics.
By participating in the DHS-funded “Operation Stonegarden”, Arizona law enforcement agencies have so far this year seized more than $19 million in narcotics; $994,000 in illicit funds; 174 weapons; 450 vehicles; made 860 felony arrests; and aided in the apprehension of 723 illegal aliens.
Operation Stonegarden, managed by the U.S. Border Patrol, funds local agencies and their officers for overtime worked. They also receive specialized technology and equipment to help them combat transnational criminal organizations during these operations.
The program is mutually beneficial for all agencies. Border Patrol and state, local and tribal agencies work together to target criminal organizations exploiting southern Arizona communities. Between Jan. 1 and July 14, for example, Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers seized almost $540,000 worth of illegal drugs, five vehicles, and $86,600 in illicit funds.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.