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Domenici wants continued guard presence at border

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By Carol A. Clark

Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., is seeking to gain assurances for a strong continued National Guard presence on the New Mexico border when Operation Jump Start (OJS) ends this summer.

Domenici has sought to continue OJS, the two-year program launched in 2006 to deploy National Guardsmen to the Southwest border to assist the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in border security. There are currently some 300 guardsmen associated with OJS on the border.

Guard personnel were instrumental in 79,875 arrests and the seizure of more than 784 tons of illegal drugs, including cocaine, marijuana, heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs, as well as 21,603 weapons and $32.6 million in property on the national level.

“There’s no secret that drugs are coming in from Mexico and I think these numbers speak for itself as indicating that this program should continue,” said Los Alamos Police Det. DeWayne Williams this morning. “Law enforcement only tends to catch a small percentage of what’s really happening so you can just imagine what the numbers really are.”

Domenici questioned Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, at a Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee hearing to review the FY2009 budget for the Guard and Reserve, according to a news release.


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