ATTORNEY GENERAL TO MEET WITH SECRETARY CLINTON TO DISCUSS ANTI-DRUG INITIATIVE

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November 16, 2010

LITTLE ROCK -- Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is scheduled to meet today with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to ask Secretary Clinton to maintain funding for a program utilized by attorneys general across the country to combat drug trafficking.

McDaniel and a delegation of five other state attorneys general from the Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG) are in Washington to ask Clinton to commit the State Department to continued support of a CWAG initiative that provides training to Mexican judicial and law enforcement authorities engaged in fighting illegal drugs in that country.

"An essential way we as attorneys general can help to prevent international drug trafficking and the ills associated with it is by assisting other countries in their law enforcement efforts," McDaniel said. "We're grateful to be able to share with Secretary Clinton the success stories related to this initiative. We're hopeful that through this visit we will be able to secure the funding to continue this program, which is helping to keep drug traffickers out of Arkansas."

CWAG's Alliance Partnership Program, funded by the State Department through USAID, has allowed attorneys general to provide technical assistance and legal training to Mexican authorities, who are often ill-equipped to deal with the criminal cartels that operate in their country.

Those cartels' operations reach to Arkansas, where the volume of imported methamphetamine has increased, even as the number of in-state methamphetamine labs has significantly decreased as law enforcement agencies fight drugs on the homefront.

In 2008, four counties in the state were designated as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Those counties are Pulaski and Jefferson in central Arkansas and Washington and Benton in northwest Arkansas.

"We already have great cooperation among law enforcement officers on the federal, state and local level, and this cooperation has helped us achieve significant reductions in drug distribution in Arkansas," McDaniel said. "We can have the same type of cooperation with Mexican officials and get the same results."

The Alliance Partnership between CWAG and Mexican authorities involves 34 states and 28 Mexican states.

In fiscal 2010, more than 4,000 judicial and law enforcement authorities from Mexico participated in the training. More than 6,000 are projected to participate in fiscal 2011.

McDaniel will be joined by Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock, New Mexico Attorney General Gary King, Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch and Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna for the State Department visit.

McDaniel and the other attorneys general also have meetings scheduled today and Wednesday with officials from the White House, Department of Homeland Security and the Mexican Embassy.