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PHOENIX -- Arizona lawmakers want to erect a new border intelligence center in the state's latest foray into the national immigration debate.

A House committee advanced a bill Wednesday that seeks to establish a joint operations intelligence unit to coordinate state and federal law enforcement agencies working along the border.

The center would work closely with U.S. Border Patrol agents and local law enforcement officials.

Proponents say they want to create a drug-free zone along the border that would also target human trafficking.

They say the center would be based on the Rangers, the top criminal investigators in Texas. Texas recently sent small teams of Rangers to remote border locations to deter drug traffickers.

Arizona already has an illegal immigration prevention team that assists in crimes associated with human smuggling.

Associated Press,

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