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FBI's role in securing the border in Arizona

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Posted at 4:56 PM, Nov 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-23 18:56:35-05

NOGALES, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Crime related to the border spills into the federal zone. The FBI is always involved.

KGUN9's Valerie Cavazos sat down with the man in charge of FBI agents in Tucson to talk about how the agency works with and watches over the Border Patrol.

Infamous drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman escapes from a Mexican prison. An ex-FBI agent warns of more violence, bloody cartel battles in drug corridors, on both sides of the border.

Special Agent in Charge Andrew Black runs the FBI headquarters in Tucson.

"It's been extremely violent the last 10 years. We're seeing a little spill over in the US," he said.

The FBI's job is to dismantle organized crime, the cartels that bring loads of narcotics into the U.S. and send money and weapons back into Mexico. Investigations are complex so the FBI needs the help of the Border Patrol.

"The FBI has just under 100 employees here where the Border Patrol has many more agents who can help in these investigations. It's really an opportunity to share intelligence, resources, and manpower," said Agent Black.

The FBI in Tucson has 9 different squads, including counter-terrorism, and each one is impacted in some way by the border.

"We have a joint terrorism task force here that's responsible for countering any terrorist threats associated with the border. Again. That's a joint operation. We have border patrol agents who are assigned to the task force," he said.

Agents in both agencies form friendships to build trust especially in the field.

"We train together, firearms, all that. Tactics. Terrorist training together. All that makes for a more cohesive effort," said Agent Black.

But in any border town, there's steady corruption. Border Patrol agents enticed to take bribes.

"Individuals working the border can earn their salary in one or two days just by looking the other way," said Agent Black.

The cartels and terrorists know it and prey on agents who can't resist the temptation. But, the FBI's Border Corruption Task Force is watching and ready to arrest any agent who steps out of line.