DPS talks Mexico partnership after Donald Trump's visit to Phoenix

Posted at 10:40 PM, Aug 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-01 13:32:41-04

After a one-hour meeting with the president of Mexico, Donald Trump suggested that the only way law enforcement can be successful in fighting border security and the cartel is to work together.

"In my line of work and what I have learned in the last 32 years of law enforcement is that I'm most effective when I have trusted partners," said Frank Milstead, director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

VIDEO RECAP: Trump talks illegal immigration during Phoenix speech

A partnership between Mexican and U.S. law enforcement has already proven successful in the past-- it helped arrest wanted fugitive Adrian Cruz, who was convicted of sexually assaulting a 9-year old girl in 2003. In an interview right after his arrest, Cruz said he thought five years was enough time behind bars.

"I took the chance that God gave me to get out," Cruz said.

Cruz was seen on surveillance cameras boldly walking out of the Maricopa County courthouse. He went straight to Mexico and started a new life with a wife and child.

The U.S Marshals worked to track Cruz down and they used authorities in Mexico to do surveillance on him and finally make the arrest.

Milstead said that since he became the director of DPS he has gone down to Mexico at least six times to meet with his counterparts and community leaders. He said, “We all want the same thing.”

"It is comforting to know that there are people who want to keep their communities as safe as we do. I was caught off guard with the question of, ‘What are you doing about keeping guns and ammunition out of our country,’” Milstead said.

At this point, information about stolen cars and fugitives is being shared.

"The piece that is slowly evolving is the information sharing piece," Milstead said.

DPS is providing training to law enforcement in Mexico and the hope is that the partnership will eventually lead to a level of unconditional trust. 

"In a perfect world, I would like to have one of their people in my court-terrorism center. And we would have someone down there," Milstead said.