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Arizona and Sonora Join Forces

From Associated Press

The governors of Arizona and the Mexican state of Sonora on Friday announced stepped-up plans to combat border-related crime, saying they were prompted to act in part because their respective national governments had been slow to help.

Arizona will create a new detail of officers to help prevent vehicle theft -- a crime often related to the transport of illegal immigrants -- and to gather intelligence to identify people taking large amounts of cash from the United States to Mexico, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano said.

In addition, police in the border-area cities of Nogales, Bisbee and San Luis and in the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department will assign dozens more officers to combat vehicle theft, drug trafficking and other border-related crime, Napolitano said.

For his part, Sonoran Gov. Eduardo Bours announced the establishment of four new checkpoints in his state where officers would search for people engaged in smuggling and vehicle theft.

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Arizona funding comes from $1.5 million authorized under Napolitano’s declaration Monday of a state of emergency in four border counties.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson made a similar declaration Aug. 12.

Napolitano acknowledged that border security was a federal responsibility, but said: “As a state governor, I must acknowledge that our federal government has fallen short.”

Also Friday, Napolitano signed an executive order creating a new council to coordinate efforts and information between Arizona and Sonora, and Bours said Sonora would give Arizona law enforcement authorities seven radios allowing them to check on Sonoran vehicle registrations.

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