Thank you, and good afternoon.
I'd like to thank Public Safety Minister Day and Justice Minister Nicholson for hosting this 10th United States-Canada Cross Border Crime Forum. It’s a pleasure to be in this beautiful city on the occasion of its historic 400th anniversary. It's also a pleasure to join in recognizing the work being done by law enforcement in both our countries to keep our citizens safe.
Over the past two days, we have discussed a variety of law enforcement issues of importance to the people of the United States and Canada, ranging from terrorism to drug and arms trafficking to mass-marketing fraud.
The United States and Canada share an extensive border, a long history of friendship, and convenient access that has encouraged the free flow of commerce and visitors. But that convenience also allows for easy access to criminals. Our success in stopping them depends on close collaboration among all levels of law enforcement, domestically and internationally. It depends on the enthusiasm and information sharing that come out of meetings like this one.
Neither of our countries can do it alone. Terrorism, organized crime, drug smuggling, human trafficking, mass-marketing fraud, and border enforcement are just a few of the challenges we face together every day. But with hard work and collaboration through programs like the Cross Border Crime Forum, we can succeed in making both of our countries safer.
Since this forum began ten years ago, we've advanced our goal of securing better cooperation between our criminal justice systems. Each time we get together we make additional progress, as we have this year.
To give just one example, this year we saw the value of joint operations on human smuggling with the disruption of the Galdamez organization. This human smuggling organization was based in Montréal, but its operations extended to Toronto, New York, and Boston. Allegedly, the organization would smuggle illegal aliens, including some from Pakistan and South America, across the Québec border into eastern New York and Vermont. As a result of this investigation, charges were filed against five people who conspired to smuggle more than 100 illegal aliens into the United States from Canada between 2004 and 2007.
The success of that operation was due to the combined efforts of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and U.S. law enforcement from the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. That's the kind of cooperation across borders and among agencies that we're here to develop, reinforce, and celebrate.
Increasingly, crime and criminals recognize no borders. That reality makes our need for collaboration all the more important. We must continue to build upon our success and look for opportunities to coordinate our efforts further—for the next ten years, and the next ten years after that.
Thank you. I'll now turn the podium over to Minister Nicholson.