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Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Delivers Remarks at the Cross-Border Crime Forum



Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

Good afternoon.

I first want to thank our Canadian colleagues for hosting this year’s Cross-Border Crime Forum.  In particular, I want to thank Ministers Mendicino and Lametti for the warm welcome to Ottawa.

Today, we reaffirmed the importance of the partnership between the United States and Canada in confronting some of our most urgent shared challenges. And we reaffirmed the principle underlying that partnership – our shared commitment to uphold the rule of law.

The United States and Canada are united in our commitment to addressing the fentanyl epidemic that is devastating families and communities in both of our countries. 

The Justice Department’s Drug Enforcement Administration and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are stepping up information-sharing on precursor chemical and clandestine lab seizures.

We are working together to target each stage of the movement, manufacturing, and sale of fentanyl, from start to finish.

In just one example of that work, in 2021, Canada extradited a defendant to face charges in the United States related to the movement of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues from China for distribution in the United States and Canada.

Earlier this week, the Justice Department announced the conviction of that defendant for her role in a large-scale international fentanyl trafficking operation. A number of other defendants have also been charged as part of this investigation.

This case also demonstrates the importance of disrupting the fentanyl precursor supply chain originating in China. As I have said before, the PRC government must take responsibility for its role in this epidemic and stop the unchecked flow of fentanyl precursor chemicals coming out of China.

The Justice Department will continue to work together with our partners both here in Canada and in Mexico to combat fentanyl trafficking and get deadly fentanyl out of our communities.

In addition to reaffirming our shared commitment to addressing the fentanyl epidemic, we reiterated the importance of our joint efforts to combat the trafficking of illegal guns.

In another example of our work together, earlier this month, the Toronto Police Service announced the results of Project Moneypenny, a cross-border firearms trafficking investigation.  

In coordination with other Canadian police agencies and the Justice Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the ATF, Project Moneypenny resulted in the seizure of 173 illegal firearms in Canada and the United States as well as 42 arrests.

And we are committed to doing even more of this work. Last month, ATF and the Canada Border Services Agency took an important step forward by signing a new agreement to strengthen information-sharing between the two agencies.

We have seen time and again in our own investigations in the United States that data and information-sharing are powerful tools in the fight against gun violence.  They enable us to turn evidence collected at crime scenes into the leads that assist in identifying, investigating, and prosecuting those who commit violent crimes.

The Justice Department is using every tool at our disposal to combat gun trafficking and hold accountable those who flood our communities with illegal guns.

That includes putting to use new authorities to prosecute gun traffickers and seize illegal guns.  Last year, the United States Congress passed the first major gun safety legislation in nearly 30 years, giving the Justice Department new tools to disrupt gun trafficking networks.  Our prosecutors have since charged defendants across the United States with new violations under that law.

As part of our efforts to keep citizens of both our countries safe, we also discussed the importance of coordination in investigating and prosecuting crimes involving digital assets.  We must work together to crack down on criminal cryptocurrency transactions and take down the online criminal marketplaces that enable them.

Finally, we reaffirmed the importance of the principle that unites our countries – adherence to the rule of law.

Russia’s unprovoked and unjust invasion of Ukraine has demonstrated to all of us the stake we have in the success of democracy.

And it has demonstrated to all of us the importance of standing together in the face of efforts to undermine the rule of law upon which our governments are based.

The United States is committed to holding the Russian regime accountable for its atrocities against the Ukrainian people.

We look forward to finding more ways to work with our international partners to build on those efforts.

Thank you.

Updated April 28, 2023