TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Arizona's Department of Public Safety is working on its own special push to cut cross-border crime.
While Federal enforcement like the Border Patrol is the best known effort to cut drug and people smuggling Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has created a Border Strike Force to be part of Arizona DPS.
Department of Public Safety director Colonel Frank Milstead says with DPS statewide perspective the Border Strike Force can cut cross border crime through better communication and intelligence sharing, and education to cut demand for drugs in the first place.
Colonel Frank Milstead sees drugs as the root of so much crime that everyone has a drug problem.
“80 percent of everybody in a Department of Corrections bed has a drug problem. 78 percent of every displaced kid in the Department of Child Services is a family that has a drug problem. So these drug issues, when you hear them say it's a non-violent felony. That's all crap."
To help cut the flow of drugs and people across the border Governor Ducey is asking state lawmakers for more than 31 million dollars to launch the strike force.
About $20 million of that would go to better communications and other equipment to help DPS and agencies like Sheriff's Departments communicate better and see when a bust by one agency may connect to something bigger.
Colonel Milstead says it could begin with something as simple as a Highway Patrol traffic stop.
"If you're a mule and we arrest you on an Arizona highway or in the desert and you're moving narcotics, we'll send what we call a Highway Enforcement Team out and the HET team will arrive and they start working this case, where is that delivery gonna happen so we can do a controlled delivery? And where did it come from or what drop house is it headed to and where did it come from and where is that drop house at?"
Colonel Milstead says strike force members might let the drug load move on to its delivery point for a chance at more arrests there.
The plan also includes education to reduce demand for drugs and kill the appetite for drugs that keeps criminals in business.