Border committee meets in Phoenix to address smuggling

May 21, 2012

Arizona Congressman Ben Quayle says to stop narcotics from flowing across the border, the U.S. government must be as innovative, flexible and nimble as Mexican drug cartels. KJZZ’s Peter O’Dowd reports on a Congressional hearing held Monday in Phoenix.

Rep. Ben Quayle Rep. Ben Quayle (Photo courtesy Office of Rep. Ben Quayle)

PETER O’DOWD: The Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security hearing focused on information sharing between local, state and federal police agencies that are working to stem the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S. The government estimates the industry is worth more than $19 billion a year to the cartels. Republican Congressman Ben Quayle chaired the meeting. He says cooperation must also come from the Mexican government, which will hold presidential elections July 1.

BEN QUAYLE: My hope is regardless of the outcome, the new Mexican president will become a partner committed to curbing the violence and corrosive influence of the drug cartels.

O’DOWD:  Jose Salinas, a brigadier general with the Arizona National Guard testified before the committee. He said the agency’s Arizona Joint Counter Narco/Terrorism Task Force, which works with local law enforcement at the border, is facing "devastating cuts." He said budget reductions next year will lead to a 60 percent reduction in personnel compared to 2011.