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Opinions fly during Phoenix border security expo

PHOENIX -- An annual border security exposition got under way Tuesday at the Phoenix Convention Center.

The two-day event is a showcase for vendors as they trot out the latest tools in securing the border.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano recently claimed that the border is more secure than ever before. Ron Colburn, former Deputy National Chief with the Border Patrol, said that claim is laughable and the border is more dangerous than before and more complex because agents are fighting drug cartels that have better firepower and, in some cases, better technology.

And the smugglers are not up against budget cuts -- i.e. the sequester -- that will reduce the number of American agents.

"The cartels have fingertip access to billions of dollars, much of it in American currency," said Colburn. "They can buy almost anything they want. Shoe boxes filled with money, stashed in homes floor to ceiling."

Colburn agreed that we do now have more boots on the ground at the border and better technology than before.

Colburn is also strongly opposed to the recent release of hundreds of illegal immigrants from detention centers by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

"Somebody in this group will do harm to someone soon. It could be armed robbery, drugs, carjacking, home invasion. They will go right back to what they were doing before they were incarcerated."

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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