The Attorney General Alliance is a cooperative program involving the Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG), Council of State Governments, National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and other public and private entities aimed at strengthening the legal systems of both the United States and Mexico.
The Attorney General Alliance projects focus on such initiatives as reinforcing court systems with greater efficiency and transparency; running training programs that promote a consistent application of Rule of Law disciplines, such as oral advocacy; and promoting collaboration among state attorneys general from both countries.
The AGA — in conjunction with NAAG, Mexico’s Federal Attorney General’s Office, Mexico’s National Conference of Attorneys General and Mexico state attorneys general — help establish and nurture cross-jurisdictional cooperation on many law enforcement issues, from consumer fraud and piracy to drug trafficking and money laundering. The ultimate goal is to ensure that law enforcement and judicial officials are able to work together in ways that apply a consistent Rule of Law focus across jurisdictions in U.S. and Mexican states.
A Track Record of Success
Since its establishment in 2006, The Attorney General Alliance has achieved unprecedented tangible results on both sides of the border. A decade of collaborative efforts between the states of New Mexico and Chihuahua, for example, inspired a promising template for state-to-state skill focused trainings. The cultivation of expanded relationships led to bi-national efforts such as the New Mexico State Legislature enacting legislation aimed at criminalizing human trafficking; Arizona and several other state legislatures are now considering similar legislation. Colorado’s training efforts with Mexico led to a joint ICE-Colorado Attorney General’s Office apprehension of a murder fugitive and, in a multi-jurisdictional effort led by former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, to a $50 million money laundering settlement.
Highlights for 2016
This year — backed by a vigorous infusion of $1 million in funding from INL — The Attorney General Alliance will host a series of exchange programs involving not only State Attorneys General, but also exchanges between working-level law enforcement from AGOs in the U.S. and Mexico.
Exchanges between State Attorneys General feature discussions on topics that the Attorneys General can collaborate on, such as: Consumer protection, intellectual property theft, AML, human trafficking detection, commercial fraud, as well as topics surrounding the transition to an accusatorial justice system, such as alternative resolutions and collaborations in supporting state level prosecutions in both countries.
With a focus on connecting law enforcement from like-disciplines, exchanges between working level law enforcement focus on roles of each law enforcement player, strategies for encouraging cross-discipline and cross-border collaboration on cases, case and trial preparation and practical exercises.
The Attorney General Alliance will reach more than 1,000 members of the Mexican legal and law enforcement communities through its exchange programs this year.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL ALLIANCE INITIATIVES AND GOALS
- At the request of the Department of State (USAID then INL), the Attorneys General initiated and implemented relationships which leverage the unique relationships and experiences of U.S. State Attorneys General with State Attorneys General in Mexico.
- Attorneys General have developed trust, collaborative efforts such direct communication regarding investigations which lead to successful extraditions and prosecutions on State-to-State levels in Mexico and the U.S.
- AGA distinguishes itself from other capacity training endeavors through the peer-to-peer experienced based prosecutors and law enforcement personnel. Attorney General staffs share a common responsibility to pursue justice, promote institutions which sustain the Rule of Law and enhance civil-society support for governance.
- AGA has developed institutional relationships which provide continuity in communications, programming and within the United States and Mexico regardless of political machinations in either country. The programs law enforcement based focus fosters non-partisan support in both countries.
- As a supplement to the highly effective but cost-intensive peer-to-peer trainings and spurred by requests for technical assistance from Mexican law enforcement, AGA leveraged INL funding to coordinate distance learning programming within Mexico. AGA also developed an online training component for the capacity trainings.
- AGA has 42 United States State Attorneys General’s Offices participating in the training of Mexican State Attorneys General Offices and other Mexican justice and law enforcement entities.
- AGA has 32 participating Mexican jurisdictions and 10 additional Mexican federal and State partnering agencies.
ALLIANCE PARTNERSHIP HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT TIMELINE
September 2006 – September 2012
- AGA Chair Lawrence Wasden (ID) and AGA Executive Director Karen White are asked by USAID Mexico and the Council of State Governments to develop a relationship with Mexican State Attorneys General. As PGR Mexico funds and coordinates many aspects of Mexican State Attorneys General, AGA engages both PGR and the 33 local Mexican Attorneys General jurisdictions, in efforts to exchange information on law enforcement issues and begin developing relationships and areas ripe for State-to-State collaboration.
- AGA Attorneys General host Mexican Attorney General Medina Mora and Mexican State Attorneys General in Phoenix, Arizona for a two day law enforcement summit on Bi-National Issues. Mexican Attorney General Medina Mora asks AGA to provide “assistance in training federal and state institutions of justice in the implementation of criminal procedures and adversarial procedures.”
- The Council of State Governments executes a Cooperative Agreement with USAID with AGA as a Sub Awardee where AGA will promote AG to AG relations and initiate activities a platform for cooperation among attorneys general from the U.S. and Mexico; provide advanced capacity training for prosecutors and investigators; and offer Mexico officials access to legal and technical assistance through workshops, technical seminars, study tours, and the development of bilingual educational materials, as well as creating a state-of-the-art website for improved dissemination of training and reference materials.
- AGA begins offering Alliance Partnership (AP) trainings based entirely in the United States. State AGO’s donate staff to develop curriculum and provide all technical assistance. Attorney General exchanges continue on an executive level with law enforcement officials developing trust, collaborative efforts and direct communication relating to investigations, extraditions and prosecutions.
- In 2009–10, requests for technical assistance and capacity training for Mexico continue to escalate. USAID expands funding for the training component of the programing. AGA develops online classes and components to supplement curriculum. USAID asks AGA Attorneys General to ramp up the provision of their technical trainings, to develop personnel and an organization structure which would train approximately 10,000 Mexican participants a year.
- AGA Attorneys General approve USAID request to increase AP training schedule, create a sustainable organizational structure add 50 + trainings for the calendar year. USAID then apprises AGA of funding challenges and asks INL to step in and become partners with AGA in the AG to AG program. AGA provides over 10,000 hours of programming with over 7,000 of those hours being donated to the program.
2010 – 2011 Developments
- In June of 2011, AGA was awarded with a $1,000,000 grant from the Southwest Border Anti-Money Laundering Alliance (SWBA) to facilitate relationships and carry out trainings to Mexican law enforcement, focused on anti-money laundering and anti-weapons trafficking investigations and prosecutions.
- In September of 2011 AGA entered into a 2-year cooperative agreement with the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). The program project focuses on fostering partnerships and building capacity with the state Attorney General’s Offices in Mexico, to encourage greater cross-border cooperation among law enforcement agencies, leading to more successful prosecutions of trans-border crime.
- AGA asked to develop initiatives which support the strengthening of Rule of Law initiatives throughout Central America. AGA initiated dialogue with grass roots ethnic diasporas organizations to assist with bi-lingual country of origin training. Through the network of relationships within the U.S., Attorneys General have collaborated with bi-national U.S. citizens expressing strong interest in-country trainings by U.S. trained bi-lingual attorneys. This initiative expands the capacity and reach of international efforts. Professionals in NY, Chicago, and LA are poised to engage as program moves forward.
- AGA enters agreements with Mexican State AGO’s in August of 2011 for co-funded trainings within Mexico. After receiving information that AGA would be winding down training activities for 2010–11, numerous Mexican State AGO’s worked to secure funding for potential additional trainings from AGA Attorneys General staff.
- El Salvador Fiscal General meets with 35 U.S. Attorneys General in July of 2011. U.S. AG’s pledge support, contingent on INL funding, to initiate a pilot program in El Salvador enhancing the skills related to murder investigations and prosecutions. The El Salvadorans express a desire to improve skills that deliver an immediate impact to the community.
2010 – 2011 Alliance Partnership Deliverables
- $4.5 million in funding from USAID and INL, AGA trained 6,153 members of the Mexican legal community and civil society at an average cost per participant in FY 10–11 of $731.
- In the same time period, AGA States, affiliates, academic, public and private sector partners have leveraged their institutional commitments with more than $2.4 million dollars in cash and in kind services for an AG match of $391 per participant.
- AGA’s calendar incorporated 33 trainings in the 2010–2011 fiscal year, incorporating Justice and Law Enforcement Training for 6,153 personnel.
2011 – 2012 Alliance Partnership Deliverables
- During the 2011–2012 fiscal year, The Attorney General Alliance held more than 30 exchanges with law enforcement personnel from numerous state Attorney General’s offices, through INL and SWBA funding, reaching almost 1,700 law enforcement personnel in various roles.
The Attorney General Alliance Advisory Board
The Attorney General Alliance Staff
“The Attorney General Alliance training is having an impact at home. In the past, criminals from Mexico have been able to come into the United States, commit crimes and run back to Mexico to avoid prosecution. Similarly, American criminals have been able to go into Mexico, commit crimes and flee to the United States to avoid prosecution. The Alliance Partnership is making it more difficult for these criminals, from both sides of the border, to use that border as a shield from prosecution. The relationships developed with our Mexican peers are proving effective, allowing us to work together, share information and prosecute across our respective borders. The Alliance Partnership enables these beneficial relationships to flourish, resulting in better border security and improved public safety.”
— Idaho Attorney General Lawrence G. Wasden
“La formación de la Alianza Estatal de CWAG está teniendo un impacto en el país. En el pasado, delincuentes de México han sido capaces de llegar a los Estados Unidos, cometer delitos y huir de nuevo a México para evitar enjuiciamiento. Asimismo, delincuentes americanos han podido ir a México, cometer delitos y huir a los Estados Unidos para evitar el enjuiciamiento. La Alianza Estatal de CWAG está impidiendo que estos delincuentes, de ambos lados de la frontera, usen la frontera como un escudo de enjuiciamiento. Las relaciones con nuestros colegas mexicanos están resultando eficaces, lo que nos permite trabajar juntos, compartir información y perseguir a través de nuestras fronteras respectivas. La Alianza Estatal de CWAG permite florecer estas relaciones beneficiosas, dando como resultado una mejor seguridad en la frontera y la mejora de la seguridad pública.”
— Procurador General de Justicia del Estado de Idaho Lawrence G. Wasden
“The Attorney General Alliance training is not just training; it’s working together.”
— Frank Collins — Legal Advisor, The Attorney General Alliance
“Las capacitaciones de la Alianza Estatal de CWAG no son sólo capacitaciones; son oportunidades para colaboración.”
— Lic. Frank Collins, Asesor Jurídico, Alianza Estatal de CWAG
“At the trainings, we develop relationships with our counterparts in the U.S. that enable us to work together as colleagues when we have investigations or cases that impact each other. Our friends in the U.S. need to understand what’s going on in Mexico. It’s about reform, security and justice. By getting to know each other we are friends and we can come together to support change.”
— Rommel Moreno Manjarrez, Attorney General of the State of Baja California
“En las capacitaciones, desarrollamos relaciones con nuestras contrapartes en los Estados Unidos que nos permiten trabajar juntos como colegas cuando tenemos investigaciones o casos que se afectan unos a otros. Nuestros amigos en los Estados Unidos deben comprender lo que está pasando en México. Se trata de la reforma, seguridad y justicia. Al llegar a conocerse unos a otros, nos hacemos amigos y podemos llegar juntos para apoyar el cambio.”
— Procurador General de Justicia del Estado de Baja California Rommel Moreno Manjarrez
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