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DeSantis Pledges To Send Officers To Mexico Borders In Texas, Arizona

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a news conference at Universal Studios Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a news conference at Universal Studios Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in Orlando, Fla.

Governor Ron DeSantis plans to send law enforcement officers to Arizona and Texas to help with border patrol. The decision comes after the governors in both states asked for help controlling the border. Officials say the extra protection at the border is expected to help curb a drug problem in North Florida.

"We’re here today because we have problems in Florida that are not organic to Florida, that we’ve been forced to deal with over many years," DeSantis said. "But particularly over the last six months because of the failure of the Biden administration."

That’s Governor Ron DeSantis. He believes President Joe Biden’s move to suspend Trump-era policies has opened the flood gates for people to cross the United States’ southern border. Biden said he would allow 62,500 refugees in the US in 2021, and mentioned increasing the cap to 125,000 in 2022. DeSantis disapproves. He says Trump administration initiatives were working.

"All that had really really worked to get a handle on what was coming across the southern border. Now it’s unlike anything anyone has ever seen down there," DeSantis said. "You have caravans that are making their way and pouring across the border. You absolutely have the cartels that are taking advantage of what is going on down near our southern border."

DeSantis pointed to a recent arrest and seizure of drugs to make his point.

"In June, FDLE arrested four criminal aliens as part of a drug sting. They’re moving 25 pounds of methamphetamine," DeSantis said. "When they were arrested they shot an agent. Now the agent survived but just think about what’s going on."

Commander Robert Quinata has spent most of his career in the Narcotics Division at the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. He says methamphetamine is their number one problem.

It used to be where cocaine was the biggest problem I would say in the 80's it just popped up out of nowhere and that was the drug of choice back then," Quinata said. "It seems that, and I can’t speak for the rest of the state, but it seems up here in the Northwest it is flipped to the point where meth is more readily available and more sought after than cocaine is.

And Quinata says there is no doubt that it’s coming into the state through the border. He says when meth was first seen it would be small personal amounts that were likely made in the county. Since then that’s changed.

"That all stopped I would say around ‘11-2012 here locally we noticed that it’s all being imported in," Quinata said. "Nothing being homegrown or made here locally or even in the United States it’s been coming from Mexico. That’s the big money maker."

He says visually he can see the difference between meth made locally and meth brought across the border.

"When you have the homegrown meth labs. What we used to call the one-pots the anhydrous method or the Red P method, what you would get after making it is a powder," Quinata said. "What we’re seeing from Mexico isn’t the powder it’s actual ice, you know where they got the street name from because it looks like little glass shards of ice."

Quinata says while his team works locally to stop drug distribution, he thinks the problem begins at the border.

The details of how many law enforcement officers Florida will send to Arizona and Texas were not released. Cochise County, Arizona Sheriff Mark Dannels is a Republican whose county is in Arizona's southeastern corner. He says any help is appreciated.

"Having that extra body, extra law enforcement trained body with my deputies obviously is most important because we run single units," Dannels said. "We come across a group, we come across a pursuit that we're involved with, just having that extra officer safety measure with another law enforcement's great."

A spokesman for Governor Doug Ducey (Arizona) said Wednesday afternoon "details are still being worked out."

"In a tweet, the Democratic Party of Florida says the move is a political stunt by DeSantis to fix a "fabricated problem." The party says sending law enforcement resources out of state will make Florida communities less safe."

Blaise Gainey is a State Government Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Florida. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formerly worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, Netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter.