“I feel I need to clear up a few facts in regards to Chief Mendoza’s recent article about the Task Force that were simply not true.
The La Paz County Sheriff’s Office has been the “Host” of the La Paz County Task Force since its inception in the late 80’s. The Sheriff’s Office is also considered the “Host Agency” when it comes to the HIDTA and ACJC grants.
I cannot help the fact that the previous Sheriff’s Office administration did not have detectives in the unit but we are committed to building it back up. As soon as I took office, I placed a Lieutenant in the Unit. Now that we are building up our staff, I am in the process of adding three more detectives. The fact that Parker Police was allowed to take over in July of 2010 is not my concern or responsibility.
I would like to point out that Chief Mendoza talks about his recent 8 month County wide investigation that netted 10 arrests. I did not overlook the fact that all of these arrests/investigations were in the Parker area. I did not see any investigations from the outlying areas (Quartzsite, Ehrenberg, Salome, etc). Once the Sheriff’s Office takes command, we will balance out our efforts by equally distributing our investigations throughout the entire County.
I would also like to address the fact that if Chief Mendoza truly wants to provide equal investigative efforts to everyone and he wants to “continue to combat drugs that plague our County” then why would he lock the Sheriff’s Office out of the building and illegally take all of the surveillance equipment? He has basically eliminated the Sheriff’s Office from conducting narcotic related investigations over a budgetary issue.
Finally I would like to address the issue of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Arizona Department of Public Safety and H.I.D.T.A. Administrators. I spoke with each every one of these officials on May 22nd, and I can assure you they did not express their support in favor of the Parker Police Department removing equipment, vehicles and money from the Task Force. I will not make a statement on their behalf for I have been assured they will handle this issue properly. Also, for Chief Mendoza to insinuate that he had talked with Border Patrol and they have agreed to become part of the Task Force is simply not true. The Sheriff’s Office has already established a great working relationship with Border Patrol the Parker Police Department was not a part of it.
In closing, I would like to express my regret that we are involved in this issue. I would like nothing more than to sign the I.G.A. and begin working with all of the Agencies. Unfortunately I could not read some of his statements and not feel compelled to correct some of the misinformation.
Sheriff John Drum”