IMPERIAL - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced today the addition of four Department of Justice special agents to a multi-agency task force in Imperial County that targets the activities of transnational gangs, from street level crime to major international conspiracies.
"Violent gangs don't respect borders any more than they respect the law," Attorney General Harris said, "but the collaborative efforts of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies have already made great strides in combating gang-related crimes along the border. My office is committed to doing whatever it takes to protect the citizens of California from gang violence and drug-running."
Organized gangs represent a serious public safety threat in California and their crimes - from drug dealing to gun violence to premeditated murder - reverberate throughout the state.
Attorney General Harris and more than 20 other state leaders came together today to discuss border violence and new opportunities to collaborate in the fight against drug gangs. The group included members of the law enforcement community, federal and state legislators, elected district attorneys, a US attorney, and a representative from the California Department of Corrections.
Along with a tour of the California-Mexico border and a drug smuggling tunnel, the group convened at the Law Enforcement Coordination Center in the town of Imperial. Founded in 1994 in a mobile home trailer, the Center today occupies a 20,000-square-foot facility staffed by more than 100 representatives of local, state and federal agencies.
The chair of the task force, Imperial County District Attorney Gilbert Otero, hosted today's tour and roundtable discussion.
The attorney general tapped four Department of Justice agents to join the task force, including Special Agent Supervisor Javier Salaiz. Special Agent Salaiz, an expert on border and transnational gang issues, led the recent investigation into a murder-for-hire plot orchestrated by a Tijuana drug cartel. The would-be victims - five family members - were said to have owed money to the drug cartel. The individuals who arranged the foiled murder-for-hire plot were arrested last month in Palmdale. http://oag.ca.gov/news/press_release?id=2038&
Attorney General Harris is committed to supporting the cooperative efforts of state, federal and local law enforcement agencies to defeat the drug gangs that spill over the border into California.
Photographs from today's event are available on the version of this press release found at ag.ca.gov.