U.S. drug czar meets with local mayors

April 05, 2013

United States drug czar Gil Kerlikowske met with local mayors in Phoenix on Thursday to talk border security and drug trafficking.

mayors U.S. Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske, center, visited with (from left), Surprise Mayor Sharon Wolcott, Avondale Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, Phoenix City Councilman Michael Nowakowski, and Phoenix Chief of Police Daniel Garcia. (Photo by Chris Connelly - KJZZ)

He praised cooperation between local, state and federal law enforcement and their Mexican counterparts for progress against drug traffickers.

"We have increased our drug seizures on the border significantly, the seizures of firearms going south have increased, and the seizure of money which is critical to cutting off the head of the snake of the cartels," Kerlikowske said.

After the meeting, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said lawmakers need to make sure securing the border doesn’t stand in the way of business opportunities with Mexico.

"If we’re so focused on security that we are not allowing legitimate commerce to come across, we’re losing out on job opportunities here in Phoenix," Stanton said.

Stanton said Mexico’s economy is now growing faster than the U.S., and Arizona has fallen behind Texas and California in cross-border trade.

The visit comes as Washington seems to be moving closer to an immigration reform deal.

Kerlikowske said what he called a broken immigration system made people less safe.

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