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(AP Photo)
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Authorities: Arizona border strike task force succeeding so far

(AP Photo)

PHOEINX — Arizona’s border strike task force is doing well, said authorities.

The specialized unit that combats border crime, human trafficking and drug cartels, recently added more manpower, thanks to state support.

“We’ve added 36 positions to the unit, and we are … out making traffic stops on suspicious activity,” Col. Frank Milstead, who heads the Department of Public Safety, said.

The team debuted a year ago. Between September 2015 and June 2016, it seized 17,070 pounds of marijuana, 92 pounds of heroin and 667 pounds of methamphetamine.

From July 1 to Aug. 31 of this year, seized marijuana was 1,665 pounds. The team snagged 28 pounds of heroin and 135 pounds of methamphetamine.

“If we can’t get the federal government to do the things we would like them to do, [Gov. Doug Ducey] wanted to make sure he was able to do something that he could control,” Milstead said.

Recently, the state approved thousands of dollars for deputies from Cochise and Pima counties to join the force.

Cochise received $375,000 and Pima $225,000.

Santa Cruz and Yuma counties are not sending deputies to the force because of financial constraints.

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