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Community Outreach - Working with At-Risk Youth

Our mentors dropping off goodies to our Success Agent students during the pandemic.

Success Agents with Goodie Bags 

Juvenile Smuggling Prevention

Smuggling Not Worth It

Along the Southwest Border, cartels cavalierly recruit youth to smuggle hard narcotics, using a potent combination of cash inducements, false promises and lies that obscure future consequences. These juvenile recruiting tactics have increased in recent years significantly. The drugs involved carry real dangers: in addition to cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine, several high school students were caught attempting to smuggle deadly fentanyl across the border.  In collaboration with DEA, HSI, CBP and the District Attorney’s Office, Juvenile Branch the U.S. Attorney’s Office created a multi-faceted program to educate youth about smuggling dangers and provide real resources and streamlined reporting avenues.  The community partnership team, which included federal and local law enforcement, community activists, and social service providers, worked closely with school district officials.  The team continues to address the rise in juvenile smuggling crime and the public safety threat with innovative and effective prevention strategies.  The resulting program included a powerful school assembly presented to thousands of students, community meetings with parents, and diverse stakeholders.  The assemblies have had a compelling impact: the program emphasizes fentanyl dangers and includes a young smuggler’s dramatic post-arrest call to his mom. It fully outlines collateral consequences, and the testimony of a lived experience youth.  The program has reached more than 14,000 students, parents, and teachers. The vast majority of the surveyed students agreed it improved their knowledge of risks, convinced them smuggling is not worth it, and enabled them to make smart choices to protect their future. To learn more of this ongoing issue or schedule your school presentation please email Shastity Urias at

Project L.E.A.D.

Project LEAD logo

Project LEAD, which is short for “Legal Enrichment and Decision-Making.” The program brings law enforcement representatives to public schools to provide a no cost eight-week instructional program that teaches fifth grade students to make wise choices.

The program serves as an informal mentoring program in which students are guided by volunteer instructors with government, law enforcement, criminal justice, and/or military backgrounds. These volunteer instructors encourage the students to explore their dreams and aim high when setting their goals.

Project LEAD has reached more than 3,700 students at 15 local elementary schools and has had more than 300 volunteers from different law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office; the U.S. Coast Guard; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the City Attorney’s Office; the U.S. Marshal’s Service; the Department of Homeland Security; Customs and Border Protection; the U.S. Secret Service; The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigation; San Diego Police Department; U.S. Probation Office; U.S. Pretrial Services; State Department; Department of Corrections; Homeland Security Investigations; and Internal Revenue Service; Federal Bureau of Prisons; Federal Bureau of Investigation and the San Diego Unified Police Department. 


Project LEAD

Law Enforcement Recognition

Each year, the U.S. Attorney hosts an “Excellence in the Pursuit of Justice” Awards Ceremony to recognize the federal, state, and local law enforcement officers who made extraordinary contributions to the mission of our office — to do justice. Each day, our law enforcement partners leave their families, not knowing what dangers lurk ahead, because they are committed to making our community safer. At the Excellence in the Pursuit of Justice Awards Ceremony, we celebrate their achievements and recognize the sacrifices that they and their families make.


Speaker's Bureau

The U.S. Attorney’s Office offers presentation on a variety of topics. If you would like to schedule a presentation on a criminal justice—related topic, please reach out to Director of Community Outreach Cindy Cipriani (, 619-546-9608).

  • Anti- bullying/Cyber bullying
  • Civil Rights and United States Constitution
  • Community Awareness Briefing: Terrorism prevention
  • Federal Criminal Justice System
  • Hate Crimes
  • Human Trafficking
  • Immigration Consequences
  • Internet Crimes Against Children & Online Safety
  • Legal Career in Criminal Justice
  • Sex Trafficking/Child Exploitation
  • Elder Abuse/Exploitation of Adults


The Department of Justice, through the Office of Justice Programs, provides a wide variety of grant opportunities for law enforcement agencies, non-profits and other organizations working on criminal justice issues ranging from re-reentry, youth violence, crime prevention and deterrence. Make sure to visit the individual websites listed below to find grant opportunities:

To find tips for writing grants, see the Office of Justice Programs’ Grants 101 materials at