Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Tours U.S.-Mexico Border, Meets with Local and Federal Officials
SAN YSIDRO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris was joined by San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials to tour the San Ysidro Port of Entry (POE)— the busiest land border crossing in the Western Hemisphere and a hotspot for the importation of illegal narcotics.
"California’s proximity to Latin America fuels our economy but makes us a target for transnational crime,” Attorney General Harris said. “The San Ysidro Port of Entry is vital to California's commerce and our fight against transnational criminal organizations—but a smart response must look past our state border. For this reason I am leading a bipartisan delegation of state attorneys general to Mexico to strengthen cross border coordination and communication."
Attorney General Harris’ tour of the U.S.-Mexico border comes a week before she will lead a delegation of state attorneys general to Mexico to strengthen working relationships between government officials in both countries and enhance efforts to combat transnational crime.
Every day, more than 50,000 vehicles and 25,000 pedestrians enter the United States through the San Ysidro POE, and each year this port of entry processes more than $200 million in U.S. exports. The San Ysidro POE is also a hotspot for the importation of illegal narcotics; with 70 percent of the U.S. supply of methamphetamine entering through this port by Mexico-based transnational criminal organizations.
Currently, the Attorney General’s office operates three San Diego-based programs along the U.S.-Mexico border including the Foreign Prosecution and Law Enforcement Unit, the California Anti Money Laundering Alliance Team and the San Diego Regional Pharmaceutical Narcotic Enforcement Team.
On Thursday, March 20, Attorney General Harris will release a comprehensive report detailing the current impact of transnational criminal organizations on California. The report will also include recommendations to address the threat of transnational crime in California.
After issuing the report, Attorney General Harris will lead a delegation of state attorneys general to meet with Mexican state attorneys general and federal officials to discuss the issues of drug, human and firearms trafficking, financial crimes and cybercrimes.
The attorneys general will travel to Mexico City from March 24 through the 26. The delegation includes California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and New Mexico Attorney General Gary King.
Specifically, the delegation will meet with government officials to increase mutual strategic support to combat the problems of international money laundering, intellectual property violations and distribution of counterfeit goods, and the adoption of technology to combat human trafficking, cybercrime and child pornography distribution.
The first trip Attorney General Harris took upon assuming office in 2011 was to Calexico in Imperial County, where she toured a drug smuggling tunnel along the California-Mexico border.
In 2012, Attorney General Harris and then-Mexico Attorney General Marisela Morales Ibáñez signed an accord agreeing to expand prosecutions and secure convictions of criminals who engage in human trafficking. The agreement also included an increase in coordination of law enforcement resources targeting transnational gangs across the California-Mexico border.
In 2012, Attorney General Harris also released a report, The State of Human Trafficking in California, at a symposium also attended by then-Mexico Attorney General Marisela Morales Ibáñez. The report outlined the growing prevalence of the crime of human trafficking in California, the increasing involvement of sophisticated transnational gangs in perpetrating the crime, and the modern technologies that traffickers use to facilitate it. That report is available here: http://www.oag.ca.gov/human-trafficking/2012.