Top U.S. Homeland Security officials say a little-known coalition of U.S. and Mexican police agencies has played a major part in cracking down on smuggling and illegal immigration along the Arizona-Mexico border, the Arizona Republic reports. The joint operation between the U.S. Border Patrol, Mexican federal police and about 60 U.S. state, federal, tribal and local police agencies has had a dramatic success in making drug seizures and arresting undocumented immigrants, said Alan Bersin, director of Customs and Border Protection.
Since the Alliance to Combat Transnational Threats launched quietly in September 2009 with coordinated training, intelligence-sharing and patrols, the program has resulted in the arrest of 270,000 illegal border crossers, the seizure of 1.6 million pounds of marijuana and the recovery of $13 million in cash in the border’s Tucson Sector. David Shirk of the Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego said collaborating more closely with Mexico to battle drug trafficking and human smuggling represents a welcome shift in the way the U.S. deals with border issues.