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Deputies from across Arizona head to Cochise County for Operation Safe Streets II

Sheriff’s deputies from counties across Arizona are being sent to Cochise County to crack down on drug and human trafficking at the U.S.-Mexico border. The participating sheriffs said they want to stop crime before it can reach their counties.

Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels announced Tuesday that his office was spearheading Operation Safe Streets II in response to an increase in high speed chases tied to drug smuggling. He said deputies sent to Cochise County will have adequate training.

"We don’t want rogue behavior, that’s not what we’re looking for," Dannels said. "The orientation is four hours, also supplied by, trained by the county attorney on what to look for here on the border to include operational maps, task force, wherever we’re going to be."

David Rhodes, Yavapai County sheriff and president of the Arizona Sheriff’s Association, said the operation is meant to address an urgent public safety concern.

"This place is not open for business," Rhodes said. "The state is not open for business. Our local economy is not open for business. You cannot come here and poison our children without retribution, without consequences. You cannot come here and create illicit sex trade without consequences. You are going to meet the full wrath of the state law enforcement."

Governor Katie Hobbs put more than $12 million in state money toward funding local law enforcement along the border, but Rhodes says more funds are needed.

"We’re asking the Legislature and the governor to double the amount of funding available for those counties so that we can meet the rising demands and the anticipated demands," he said.

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Naomi DuBovis was an intern at KJZZ in 2023.