Terry Goddard Announces $248,000 Law Enforcement Award To Strengthen Fight against Career Criminals and Links to Drug Cartels

(Phoenix, Ariz. - Sept. 20, 2010) Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced the award of $248,000 to the East Valley Chiefs Association for the East Valley Gang and Criminal Information Fusion Center in Mesa. The Fusion Center is a criminal information and intelligence center that focuses on career criminals and gang members.

The funds come from an Attorney General’s Office settlement with El Paso Corporation in 2004. The Office had filed suit against the Houston-based company over allegations that it had manipulated the supply of natural gas in Arizona, leading to price increases for consumers.

The new funding will provide additional resources for the Fusion Center and allow for the addition of new partner agencies.

Over the last eight years, the Attorney General’s Office has been successful in prosecuting gang members and career criminals who have links to the drug cartels based in Mexico. This award will help local law enforcement agencies strengthen their efforts in fighting the criminals and the cartels.

"With offshoots of the Mexican cartels trying to secure a stronger hold in Arizona, law enforcement must be more vigilant against gang activity than ever,” Goddard said. “I am pleased that my office is able to help fund this important project to make Arizona's streets safer."

"In these tough economic times for law enforcement agencies, this generous financial grant from the Attorney General's Office will allow the East Valley Gang and Criminal Information Fusion Center to continue to evolve and prosper," Mesa Police Chief Frank Milstead said. "Without funding such as this, the Fusion Center would not be able to expand and upgrade critical information-sharing systems and improve our ability to work together to solve our crime problems. We are very pleased that the Attorney General recognizes the successful collaboration of the East Valley agencies and are grateful for his support."

The East Valley collaboration includes the cities of Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler and Gilbert and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. For more information, contact Press Secretary Molly Edwards at (602) 542-8019.