SACRAMENTO (AP) — Attorneys general from border states are planning a trip to Mexico this spring as prosecutors from the two countries fight trafficking in people, guns and drugs, among other crimes, California Attorney General Kamala Harris said Wednesday.
Harris said she plans to lead the trip, which is being organized through the National Association of Attorneys General.
State attorneys general expect to meet with their counterparts in Mexico to discuss the problems posed by transnational gangs, she said.
A spokesman for Harris, David Beltran, said the trip is still being organized and could not say which attorneys general plan to attend. Spokeswomen for the attorneys general in Arizona and Texas did not immediately return telephone messages.
In addition to cross-border trafficking, Harris told those attending the California Newspaper Publishers Association’s Government Affairs Day that the discussions will include cybersecurity and the gangs’ piracy of intellectual property from technology companies, the entertainment industry and other businesses.
Harris recalled that one of the first trips she took when she became California attorney general three years ago was to Calexico, in Imperial County, to view sophisticated cross-border smuggling tunnels with smoothly formed walls, lights and air conditioning.
“Those tunnels are about some folks making a whole lot of money in the trafficking of guns and drugs and human beings,” she said. “Big burly guards at the gates told me with tears in their eyes about children as young as 5 years old being trafficked through those tunnels.”
But the gangs also have their fingers in other crimes, including stealing electronically stored consumer data and U.S. technology and entertainment products, Harris said. “Believe it or not, they’re incredibly sophisticated and present a real threat in terms of our concerns about hacking,” she said.
Harris said she gathered her peers from Southern states during an earlier meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General to propose that they lead a collaborative approach with Mexico on issues that have an effect across the U.S.
“It’s going to be about combining resources and intelligence and recognizing that … it is about collaboration and it is about communication and sharing of information to be more efficient with often restricted resources,” she said.
Harris said the issues affect the entire nation. “We just happen to be the gateway to these things,” she said.
(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)