TUCSON - Days after a startling prediction by Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu about drug cartel activity, the Department of Homeland Security makes a big announcement.
DHS said Tuesday the unprecedented effort to secure the border in Arizona is paying off.
Federal agents say they're working side by side with local law enforcement agencies to increase border security, but others say border violence and illegal activity is worse than ever.
"If you attempt illegal activity, if you try to enter this country illegally through the Arizona-Sonoran border you will face consequences when arrested," says Commissioner Alan Bersin from the U.S. Customs & Border Protection. "The day of voluntary returning of illegal aliens in Arizona is over."
A press conference in Tucson was held to update the public on ACTT, the Alliance to Combat Transnational Threats.
The alliance was formed in 2009 to help secure our border, and Bersin says it's paying off. Since then, authorities have seized more than 1.6 million pounds of marijuana, 4,000 pounds of cocaine, and 100 pounds of meth.
In addition, 14,000 people have been denied entry at ports of entry, and 3,000 people have been held between ports of entry. Violent crime has remained flat or fallen in the past decade, and stats show some of the safest communities are along the border.
Still, the announcement comes days after Sheriff Paul Babeu said the federal government isn't taking action -- and predicted a showdown between his deputies and drug cartels.
In response, Bersin says he knows criminal organizations will fight to hold their ground, and that is a big threat to agents, but they're prepared.