GOVERNORS WORK TO STOP FLOW OF GUNS, FUGITIVES
New Security Agreements Signed Today
The Governors of Arizona and Sonora have announced new action to stem the flow of illegal weapons and to capture fugitive felons in the United States and Mexico. Governor Janet Napolitano of Arizona and Governor Eduardo Bours Castelo of Sonora signed the agreements today in Phoenix at a meeting of the Arizona-Mexico Commission (AMC).
"Violence at the international border affects all of us," said Governor Napolitano. "These new plans allow an unprecedented level of cooperation between law enforcement officers on both sides of the border."
The first agreement, "eTrace," allows an exchange of training and information to effectively and efficiently trace firearms used to commit crimes on either side of the border. The agreement expands on the work of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) regarding how to identify guns, ammunition, and explosives; recover obliterated serial numbers on
guns; and to use the secure Web based program to record and exchange the information.
The existing program has already been effective: in 2007, 238 weapons - confiscated at crime scenes in Mexico - were traced back to Arizona. The expanded program will increase that enforcement work, with a particular focus on disrupting the organized arms trade. With the help of the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS), ATF and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the cities of Nogales and Douglas will pilot the program; the city of San Luis, Yuma County and the Tohono O'odham Nation will also participate.
"Our strong partnership with Arizona allows us to join forces in a way that truly benefits our entire region," said Sonora's Governor Bours. The second agreement builds on the felony fugitive warrant task force (VCAT, or Violent
Criminal Apprehension Team) created by Governor Napolitano in May. That Executive Order focused on tracking down violent felons in Arizona, particularly those involved in the smuggling of drugs and human beings.
Today's agreement extends the mission to also target felons in
Sonora. DPS will share with Sonora its secure database of felony warrants, and will train Sonoran law enforcement officers on identification, apprehension and extradition of U.S. felons located in Mexico. Sonoran law enforcement will do the same, sharing data, intelligence and training.
Copies of the agreements are attached.
The Governors took their action as part of the 2008 Summer Plenary Session of the Arizona- Mexico Commission. AMC was established in 1959 with the goal to facilitate cross-border communication, cooperation and development to improve the quality of life on both sides of the international border.
For more information about the Office of the Governor, please visit www.azgovernor.gov.