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Quattrone To Tour US-Mexico Border In Visit This Week

Sheriff James Quattrone

Chautauqua County Sheriff James Quattrone will be getting a close look at the activity on the U.S.-Mexico border during a multi-day visit this week.

Quattrone has been invited by Mark Dannels, sheriff of Cochise County, Arizona, to “come down and see firsthand what they are encountering.” The county’s top law enforcement official will be briefed by officials Wednesday before taking part in border patrols over two days in and around Tombstone, a city in the southeastern portion of the state.

Quattrone is leaving for Arizona today and will return Friday.

Dannels is chair of the Border Security Committee with the National Sheriffs’ Association of which Quattrone is a member.

Earlier this month, Quattrone took part in the association’s winter conference in Washington, D.C. He was part of a group that heard from a handful of officials on a range of topics, including the southern border and Israel-Gaza conflict.

In a statement, the New York State Sheriffs’ Association said Delaware County Sheriff Craig DuMond, the group’s president, “expressed grave concerns about national security threats highlighted by (FBI Director Christopher) Wray, particularly at the southern border.”

It was from that briefing by Wray during the D.C. trip that Sheriff Richard Jones of Butler County, Ohio, later addressed a number of national security concerns in a video that was widely shared.

“He was at the same meeting I was at and had a little different take on what’s happening,” Quattrone said of Jones’ comments afterward.

Quattrone said he has had a chance to discuss the U.S.-Mexico border situation with Dannels and looked forward to getting a firsthand look this week.

He acknowledged what has become a highly charged topic in the country.

Regarding the border, he said, “I think there’s a difference between our immigration policies and then our illegal border crossings. There’s two separate issues there.”

He referenced a comment from a public information officer with the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office who said “much of the crime that’s happening as a result of the border crossings” are being facilitated by U.S. citizens taking advantage of people once they enter the country.

There’s also the human trafficking component.

“That’s where a big part of my interest is with the amount of human trafficking that has been going on, honestly for many years,” Quattrone said. “But, it seems that as of late, more of the public are starting to understand that and understand that’s a reality even here in Chautauqua County.”

Locally, the sheriff noted there have been three to four recent arrests tied to human trafficking.

“A lot of times it’s tied to the drug trade, but not always,” he said. “Sometimes these individuals are coming across the border looking for a better place — not ill-intentioned — but being taken advantage of by those who are in the States already.”

In December, the U.S. the Attorney’s Office announced a four-count federal indictment charging a Dunkirk man with forced labor, kidnapping of a minor and the transportation of a minor for the purpose of illegal sexual activity.

Augusto Mateo Francisco has been accused of facilitating the illegal entry of Guatemalan migrants into the U.S. before providing them farm work and housing in the Dunkirk area.

In a news release late last year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Francisco charged the migrants for their housing, rides to work and for other items. He would also take a cut of the wages they earned working at the farms.

The north county man was accused of abducting a minor in May 2020. He reportedly took her to a trailer in Ripley where she was held for nearly two weeks until she was rescued by police.

Following her rescue, the minor and her mother fled to Georgia. However, Francisco allegedly followed them and kidnapped the minor, bringing her back to Western New York, where he unlawfully held her for several more days until she was again rescued by police.

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