WASHINGTON – From Aug. 23 to 25, a delegation of U.S. Attorneys, their criminal division chiefs, and Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force chiefs (OCDETF) from eight border districts traveled to Mexico City to participate in a series of briefings and meetings on security cooperation matters including efforts to combat transnational criminal organizations and efforts to counter the illegal trafficking and smuggling of firearms, narcotics and people. The last meeting of Southwest Border U.S. Attorneys in Mexico took place in March 2020.
U.S. Attorney Gary Restaino of the District of Arizona, Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Christensen of the Central District of California, U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman of the Southern District of California, U.S. Attorney Alexander Uballez of the District of New Mexico, U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston of the Eastern District of Texas, U.S. Attorney Chad Meacham for the Northern District of Texas, U.S. Attorney Jennifer Lowery of the Southern District of Texas, and U.S. Attorney Ashley Hoff of the Western District of Texas were amongst the U.S. delegation that commenced their trip with meeting U.S. Ambassador Ken Salazar.
The Justice Department’s Attaché Office in Mexico City organized the briefings and meetings. The U.S. delegation participated in a meeting with various officials from Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office “Fiscalía General de la República” (FGR) including Deputy Director of the Office of International Affairs and Attaché Offices, Humberto Trujillo Ramos; Deputy Attorney General Specialized in Combatting Corruption, Maria de la Luz Mijangos Borga; Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Investigations, Felipe de Jesus Gallo Gutierrez; and Deputy Attorney General for Regional Offices, German Adolfo Castillo Banuet. The purpose of the meeting was to learn how FGR functions and to discuss opportunities for cooperation. The two delegations discussed how they can further strengthen existing coordination of enforcement efforts and information-sharing.
Additionally, the Foreign Ministry “Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores” (SRE) hosted the U.S. Attorneys and briefed them on the United States-Mexico Bicentennial Framework for Security, Public Health and Secure Communities. Undersecretary for North American Affairs, Roberto Velasco, and Undersecretary of the Secretariat of Public Security and Citizen Safety Ricardo Mejia were among the SRE delegation.
The U.S. Attorneys’ Offices delegation were also briefed by each U.S. law enforcement agency stationed in Mexico City on current opportunities and challenges in Mexico. They discussed investigative strategies and their shared commitment to protecting the security and safety of our shared border and the citizens of both countries.
The U.S. law enforcement relationship with Mexico is one of our most important partnerships to combat trans-border crime. The U.S. delegation reiterated the United States’ commitment to protecting U.S. and Mexican citizens, and leaders from both countries reaffirmed their commitment to bilateral law enforcement cooperation.
Southwest Border U.S. Attorneys meeting with Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office: La Fiscalía General de la República
Southwest Border U.S. Attorneys meeting with Mexico’s Foreign Ministry “Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores”
Group photo of US delegation: Back row L to R: Attaché Christina Vejar; District of Arizona OCDETF Chief Maria Gutierrez; Co-director of Joint Task Force Alpha Victor White; Southern District of California OCDETF Chief Joe Smith; Eastern District of Texas Criminal Chief Frank Coan, District of Arizona OCDETF Chief Rob Fellrath, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas Brit Featherston, Central District of California OCDETF Chief Shawn Nelson; Southern District of Texas OCDETF Chief Mary Lou Castillo; Central District of California Criminal Chief Scott Garringer; District of Arizona First Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachel Hernandez; District of Arizona Criminal Chief Rui Wang; District of Arizona Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Savel; District of New Mexico Assistant U.S. Attorney Elaine Ramirez; District of New Mexico Criminal Chief (Las Cruces) Aaron Jordan; District of New Mexico Criminal Division Chief (Albuquerque) Kristopher Houghton Front row L to R: U.S. Attorney Gary Restaino, U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman, Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Christensen, U.S. Attorney Alexander Uballez, U.S. Ambassador Ken Salazar, U.S. Attorney Ashley Hoff, Western District of Texas Criminal Division Chief Christina Playton, U.S. Attorney Jennifer Lowery, U.S. Attorney Chad Meacham, Southern District of Texas OCDETF Chief John Jocher; Deputy Attaché Rocio Zamudio