SIERRA VISTA, Arizona — The sheriffs in Arizona have been forced to spend millions of dollars to prosecute cartel smugglers, jail them and pay for their legal fees since the federal government refuses to press charges.
“It has grown to the point of I have upwards of 130 backpackers (slang for cartel drug smuggler) because the U.S. Attorney would not charge them for smuggling, said Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot during an interview with Breitbart Texas. The sheriff voiced his frustration at the government’s lack of cooperation.
The political climate in Washington has led to federal prosecutors not charging cartel smugglers and illegal aliens who have been arrested in the U.S. on other criminal charges, Wilmot said.
The Yuma Sheriff has since begun to deputize federal agents so that they can have their arrests prosecuted in federal court.
“That’s a bill that I end up having to pay now because they are stuck in my jail,” Wilmot said. “That’s my cost not only to house them but to also take care of their medical problems. Then the county attorney has to burden that cost of providing a public defender.”
While the Obama administration has been working to shift the enforcement of illegal immigration, the issue with border sheriffs is about the arrest of hardened criminals.
“There’s not a sheriff in here that wants anything to do with immigration,” Wilmot said. “We are talking about the criminals.”
The effort to not prosecute certain individuals and not others has resulted in other agencies turning to Wilmot to be able to take their investigations to court.
“The issue has gotten to the point where I have had the FBI come to me because the U.S. Attorney won’t prosecute child porn cases,” Wilmot said. “That’s how ridiculous it has gotten. That’s our frustration, you say it’s your job well then do your job but if you are not and we have to do it for you then give us the money to do it. “
In Yuma County alone, Wilmot has spent more than $500,000 since October and $950,000 in costs to prosecute, house and care for criminal aliens. Overall the sheriff’s in Arizona have spent more than $30 million to enforce the law however the federal government has been reimbursing them 4.8 cents per dollar spent.
“That their job but they are not doing it,” he said. It is insane, with that you can understand my frustrations with DC.”