Thanks to the $600-million emergency border security bill enacted this week a new crop of federal prosecutors will be heading to the southwest border region.
The supplemental appropriations bill gives the Department of Justice an additional $196 million to boost law enforcement efforts in high crime areas in that region. Part of those funds will put 30 new prosecutors in U.S. attorneys’ offices, according to a department spokeswoman.
The new prosecutors will focus on southwest border firearm and drug trafficking, and bulk cash smuggling prosecutions.
The additional funds also will allow the department’s Criminal Division to create 26 new positions to review wiretap requests and mutual legal assistance treaty and extradition requests. Those new attorneys also will provide support for the investigation and prosecution of transnational gangs, firearms and drug traffickers, and money launderers operating along the southwest border.
The department said the supplemental appropriation will allow overall for more than 400 new positions and the temporary deployment of up to 220 personnel along the border. The additional personnel and funds will be used to:
Create seven new Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearm gunrunner teams targeting firearms trafficking; add five new FBI hybrid squads to combat violent crime and to expand intelligence collection efforts; deploy of more than 20 deputy U.S. marshals to support international investigations, including establishment of offices in Mexico to address cross-border investigations; increase funding for immigration judge teams to expedite removal of criminal aliens, and train Mexican law enforcement.
The department’s Southwest Border Strategy, led by Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler, uses federal prosecutor-led task forces to identify and dismantle Mexican drug cartels through investigation, prosecution and extradition of their key leaders and facilitators, and seizure and forfeiture of their assets.
The department said it is increasing its focus on investigations and prosecutions of the southbound smuggling of guns and cash and attacking the cartels in Mexico itself, in partnership with the Procuraduría General de la República and the Secretariat of Public Security.