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May 9, 2023

The Untold Fight Against the Mexican Cartels- Sheriff & Author Matthew Thomas

The Untold Fight Against the Mexican Cartels- Sheriff & Author Matthew Thomas

Matt has risen to the position of Chief Deputy. During his 29 years with the police, he has worked in jail, patrol, and traffic. Police training, academy motors, drug investigation, and the SWAT unit, an extraordinarily busy SWAT team that has served over 700 missions.

He has participated in or commanded those missions. And those missions are against some of the worst people, the Mexican drug cartel on the Mexican border in the United States. He'll go over how that manifests itself in their day-to-day operations. 

First responders play a critical role in keeping our communities safe. However, the stress and trauma of the job can take a toll on their mental health. Peer support and mental health professionals play a critical role in supporting first responders and addressing the stigma and shame associated with seeking help.

If you're interested in peer support training, contact Jerry Lund at 435-476-6382 with The Complete First Responder Trainings or visit www.completefirstrespondertrainings.com. Let's work together to support our first responders and ensure they have the resources they need to maintain their mental health and well-being.


[00:00:00] Jerry: Hi everyone, and welcome to this week's episode eof Enduring the Badge podcast. I'm host Jerry Dean Lund and I don't want you to miss an upcoming episode, so please hit that subscribe button. And while your phone's out, please do me a favor and give us a review on iTunes or our Apple Podcast. It says, Hey, this podcast has a great message and we should send it out to more people. So please take that 30 seconds to a minute to do that review and just maybe by doing that, it'll push this up into someone's podcast feed that really needs this message. 

[00:00:29] Jerry: Everyone. I'm super excited to announce that I've teamed up with an incredible person, and that person is Dr. Tia White. She is a public safety, wellness and empowerment specialist. Together, we have combined our knowledge and expertise to create a. Five day training course. Now, that training course, you can attend different days of that training course, whichever ones fit you, but day one would be peer support and how to structure that and get your team up and running, and maybe some of the legalities about that. Days two, three and four are going to be about advanced wellness and sleep and finances and family dynamics and diet nutrition and retirement and mindfulness and meditation, and how to be that complete first responder. But we did not want to leave out the significant other in your life, and that is gonna be on day five. Feel free to bring that significant other with you. And we are going to do a training that's gonna empower the both of you to have a better relationship. A successful relationship and one that is going to stand the test of time as a first responder. For additional information, please go to the Instagram page called Complete First Responder for more details.

[00:01:49] Jerry: My very special guest today is a 29 year veteran of the Pinella County Sheriff's Department. Matt has moved his way up to Chief Deputy. In those 29 years, he's held positions within the department such as detention, patrol, traffic. Training the police, academy Motors, narcotics investigation, the SWAT team, incredibly busy SWAT team that has served over 700 missions.

[00:02:15] Jerry: He's been in those missions or lead those missions. And those missions are against some of the baddest people, the drug cartel, the Mexican drug cartel on the border of Mexico in the US. He's gonna talk about what that looks like on their day-to-day operations. We're also gonna talk to Matt about his relationship with his wife.

[00:02:37] Jerry: Because you have to have a good relationship with your wife to have a good career for 29 years. We're also gonna dive down into his book about the drug cartels. The book is called Untold Fight Against the Mexican Cartels. It's an incredible book. You'll want to listen to why Matt wrote it, how long it took him to write the book.

[00:02:58] Jerry: So let's jump right into this episode with my very special guest, Matt. 

[00:03:01] Jerry: How you doing, Matt? 

[00:03:02] Matt: I'm doing well. How are you? 

[00:03:04] Jerry: I'm doing awesome as well. Thank you so much. Matt, can you introduce yourself to the audience? 

[00:03:10] Matt: Oh, this is always so awkward, man. 

[00:03:12] Jerry: It's the hardest question I ask. 

[00:03:14] Matt: It is, uh, if you wanna, like, I want them to know my background, but I also don't want them to think I'm so arrogant, dude.

[00:03:22] Matt: That's, you know, uh, anyways, so I, I work for the Pinal County Sheriff's Office. Uh, my current position, uh, I'm a deputy sheriff. I'll always be a deputy sheriff because, uh, anybody who is not the sheriff is the deputy sheriff. I just happen to hold the rank of chief deputy and, uh, what that equates to for our agency is essentially the undersheriff or sh second in command.

[00:03:43] Matt: Um, and so I've been in this position for the last seven years. Uh, prior to that I was a lieutenant and, uh, I was a lieutenant over our smuggling. Our, um, Narcotics and, uh, over our SWAT team. And I was a commander of the SWAT team. Um, and then prior to that I was a sergeant and I was a sergeant for about nine years and, uh, did a bunch of different stuff.

[00:04:07] Matt: I was a patrol sergeant, I was a training sergeant. Um, I did the academy. Uh, I was a, I stood up our first motor unit, so I was a traffic and motor sergeant. Um, and I was also a team leader as a sergeant on our SWAT team. And prior to a sergeant, I was a detective working undercover. And prior to that I was a deputy.

[00:04:29] Matt: And, uh, as a deputy, I did traffic. I did, uh, um, just, uh, I don't wanna say just, but I did patrol work and prior to that I started in detention in, uh, our county. And I did just about a year in detention before I moved out to the road. 

[00:04:49] Jerry: So you've done a few things in your career. I mean, you've had a little bit like, what, almost 30 years now?

[00:04:55] Matt: Yeah. In your career in uh, 12 days. It'll be 30 years that I've been here. Yeah. All of the same agency too, 

[00:05:01] Jerry: which is pretty impressive in itself. But I mean, Matt, I mean, that's just, I mean, you have done a lot of things. You've been there a long time, so I think that's just fair to explain that to the audience.

[00:05:10] Jerry: I mean, not that you're bragging or anything, but those are some very cool accomplishments, and I think people can respect that and look up to them. 

[00:05:18] Matt: Yeah. Yeah. I've done, uh, I, I always joke like when I'm doing classes and stuff, or if I'm, I'm doing a speaking gig, I, I joked, I'm like that insurance company, I know a thing or two cuz I've done a thing or two.

[00:05:29] Jerry: Yeah, that's, that's not a bad thing at all, Matt. I mean, you're kind of in a different area of the country that, uh, involves, gosh, a lot of different aspects of, uh, Crimes that happen. 

[00:05:45] Matt: Yeah. 

[00:05:45] Jerry: Do you wanna touch on that? 

[00:05:47] Matt: Yeah, absolutely. And, and uh, also to give the, uh, the listeners, uh, a little bit of demographics for us if they don't know our county.

[00:05:55] Matt: So Pinnell County is, uh, we have 15 counties in Arizona. They're all big, uh, um, we're not like a, a lot of the other states that have like a whole bunch of small counties. So our county Pinal County's 5,400 square miles that we're responsible for. So about the size of the state of Connecticut. We're smashed right in between Phoenix and Tucson.

[00:06:15] Matt: I 10 runs right through our county. Um, and so if you travel from Phoenix to Tucson or Tucson to Phoenix, you go right through our county. Uh, I eight starts in our county. It ends in San Diego, so I eight and I 10 both, uh, come together right in the middle of our county, essentially on the southwest part of the county.

[00:06:34] Matt: Um, and we have, you know, a whole. Different slew of demographics. Uh, but one of the things that is unique to our county is the, the Mexican cartel piece. And, uh, the southwest portion of our county, we have, uh, a high level of cartel activity. Um, because if you look south of our county, um, the southwest corner of our county is about 60 miles off the Mexican border.

[00:07:00] Matt: And from our county, Down to the border is all open desert. So essentially our, our county becomes like the first civilization they hit. And uh, that's why we have the smuggling problem we have is because they'll smuggle people in dope up. And then when they get to our county, They're hitting stash houses, they're hitting major highways to where they're, uh, then transporting into the Phoenix area, which becomes the hub.

[00:07:24] Matt: And so we're very unique in the whole cartel game because we're a key piece of real estate for them. And so we have a, we've had a, uh, decades long battle going on with specifically the Sinoa cartel because they control our state. And so it's unique to, uh, to our state. I think, uh, Texas, New Mexico. They face some similar issues as Arizona, uh, but all unique to kind of this this area.

[00:07:49] Jerry: Yeah. I mean, how do you, how many officers are, do you have to protect that massive amount of area? 

[00:07:56] Matt: Yeah, we have, uh, 240 sworn is our total for that 5,400 square mile area. Um, now keep in mind we're not, uh, so when I say we're in between Phoenix and Tucson, um, we are not a major metropolitan area like them.

[00:08:10] Matt: We're just on the outskirts of that. So like the. The north, uh, the western and northern boundaries of our county in that area. We butt up against, uh, the towns of Gilbert, Chandler Mesa, uh, Tempe, Phoenix. Those are all kind of up at the northwest. So we butt up against the major metro area and then just inside of our county in that area.

[00:08:33] Matt: We have a town called, it's kind of two towns together, queen Creek and Santan Valley. And we are, uh, responsible for the Santan Valley part, which is a, it's a population of about 130,000 right now. And, uh, we service that city essentially as a sheriff's office. So that's our major metro area for us. But overall, we service as a sheriff's office.

[00:08:56] Matt: We service about a quarter of a million in a, in a county with about a 500,000 population. 

[00:09:02] Jerry: That doesn't seem like enough officers to me. 

[00:09:05] Matt: No, it's about one for, for every, uh, every thousand or so. I guess it would be. Yeah, because we have 250,000 about that we're responsible for. So 240 officers and of course not all those officers are on the street cuz we have detectives and you know, everything else.

[00:09:22] Jerry: Sure, sure. Yeah. That's just, that's a, seems like not a lot of officers that protects so much ground. And then the diversity of the calls and the, and the types of areas that you have to cover poses probably a lot of great challenges. 

[00:09:38] Matt: Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean, uh, we go, like I described that metro area, so that's from like a city environment.

[00:09:45] Matt: To areas where your closest backup is 30 to 40 minutes away and you're the only officer, um, it's lower population, but that doesn't mean crime doesn't happen there, right? Yeah. And so we have sometimes where we'll have an officer and his closest backup may be the next town over, you know, and these are towns of like three or 4,000 that have a police force of three or four.

[00:10:06] Matt: So a lot of times for our county specifically, interagency cooperation is huge. That's, that's a big thing for us. And even with the, uh, the state troopers because they're in those outlying areas. So we rely heavily on each other as, as police forces, um, to back each other up and help each other out because there's no way that a sheriff's office could do it by ourselves.

[00:10:28] Jerry: Yeah. Which must really pay off when you're trying to battle. The different types of crimes that you're having, you know, with the cartel and the, the other, just drug traffick and human trafficking and the whole host of other crimes that come, I'm sure with that. And, uh, is it a, like a lot of drug use in that area or is this just more trafficking through that area?

[00:10:49] Matt: It's a combination, man. Um, so we have all the drug problems of any other, you know, any other area has. Uh, but we are also a pass through. So when you look at it specifically, uh, when you look at the cartels, they are transporting from Mexico to the major hub of Phoenix, right. And Phoenix becomes the big distro area.

[00:11:09] Matt: That they, they shoot the dope out to Tucson and Phoenix, probably both, but Phoenix, the bigger one, and from Phoenix, it goes out to all over the nation. And so they're passing through our county most of the time to get to that hub, uh, for the, the major distribution. Um, but you know, some of our area acts as the distribution point, and then within our areas we also have just the normal users and pushers of drugs.

[00:11:35] Matt: And so they just have a, what what you see happening is, uh, Like, if you talk to people further out from us, the price just goes up. So, so our drug dealers and our drug buyers pay lower prices for their drugs because we're closer to the border. So, uh, it just, it, the price goes up as they go further north or they, as it gets distributed to like the east coast.

[00:12:01] Jerry: Yeah. How, how do you battle the cartel, like in things in this area? Like, I dunno if that's the right word, to combat, like, like what they're doing. Like that's, that's incredibly hard. 

[00:12:13] Matt: It is. It's hard. Especially as a local, right? Because, yeah, you're not really, I. Not really designed or built to battle a worldwide criminal organization.

[00:12:23] Matt: Yeah. Um, and, but it's, it's the old adage, it's like an elephant, right? The only way we confided, the only way you can eat an elephant is one bite at a time. So that's how we treat this. We just, we attack what we can, how we can, when we can. Great partnerships with our federal partners because what we know down here to be true, no matter, you know, what people think with news cycles and all of that, um, whatever's going on in Washington DC definitely has an effect on us down here.

[00:12:49] Matt: But when you're talking about battling here and on the battle grounds, the boots on the ground just get work done. Yeah. So when you're talking about border patrol agents, uh, Homeland Security Investigations, D e a a f when you're talking about those investigators and those guys working the problem, we work hand in hand with those guys.

[00:13:09] Matt: We've got TFOs task force officers assigned to those federal groups. So it's a lot of combined effort, um, to, to battle the problem. And the national policy just gets in the way most of the time and we have to work around it at the ground level. Sure. Uh, but yeah, that's, that's how we battle is, is a lot of task force models, a lot of working together.

[00:13:28] Matt: Um, because, uh, I think another thing people don't realize when it comes to cartels, they, they're, they're also just normal people, right? So, uh, you may have a lieutenant level guy in the cartel on the American side. And him and his wife aren't getting along, so we still respond for a domestic violence call.

[00:13:47] Matt: It just happens to be with a dude that is a cartel dude. And so, um, we deal with it the same, the, the only, the difference being, and if anybody has worked gangs or any of that stuff, they understand this. The difference being when we're in that house, we're able to see things, do things, uh, note things that help the bigger case.

[00:14:07] Matt: So the feds may come to you and say like, oh, hey, you went to this house. Who did you talk to? Who was there? What phone numbers? You know, all that kind of stuff. 

[00:14:14] Jerry: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Seems overwhelming in some ways. So how would you, how do you keep all the men and women of the various departments and stuff like that?

[00:14:26] Jerry: You know, Motivated day after day cuz Right. You said it's, you're, you're eating that elephant one bite at a time, but it's like, seems like you're really not really getting after it, I guess, or like being able to, you can't stop it. Right. You can't, it's just slowing it down in some ways.

[00:14:42] Matt: Yeah. And, and I think we all have a clear understanding just from being crime fighters in general.

[00:14:48] Matt: Like, you're never gonna stop domestic violence. Right? So if you compare it to just normal crime, um, We deal with that our whole career. So I've been going to DV calls for 30 years. DV calls have never ended. DV calls, transcend all demographics, all social classes. So you could be the richest guy and you and your wife are gonna fight, or you could be the poorest guy and you and your guy, your wife are gonna fight.

[00:15:11] Matt: And so it's the same kind of stuff with this is, is we understand it's a battle. Um, in a much larger war, and we just take our battles as they come and we, we win some, we lose some. 

[00:15:22] Jerry: Yeah. Yeah. And officer, officer safety must be huge for you. 

[00:15:27] Matt: Yeah, it's, it's definitely a, a little bit, uh, a little bit, uh, different when, especially when, you know, you're dealing with cartel.

[00:15:38] Matt: Um, because we have that direct pipeline back to Mexico, uh, they can. Can sometimes act with impunity because they can do things and be right back in Mexico and out of the grasp of law enforcement, you know? And so, um, yeah, officer safety is always at the forefront. Uh, but it, it is, you know, for most every officer out there, you understand, especially in today's times where we're, uh, I, if you speak socially in the us.

[00:16:04] Matt: We have this, this push against law and order against law enforcement. Um, the one thing I know though from being in this job is that it's all cyclic, right? We've gone through this before. They love us, they hate us, they hate us. Um, and generally speaking, it's a small population that actually hate us. It just, they, they're really loud right now.

[00:16:24] Matt: Um, and our county, we do pretty well, man. Um, it's, it's really cool cause. Even me, I'm not out there on the street doing the real cop work, like the, the men and women that are doing it right now. But, uh, sheriff and I'll go places and, uh, we will walk into a restaurant and you'll have multiple people coming up and thanking you for doing the job that you do.

[00:16:47] Matt: Uh, you'll have mills paid for you before you can even figure out that you had your mill paid for you. And sometimes, and we've had this happen. It, it was so funny, but it renews your faith as a cop. That's why I want to tell the story. Yeah. Uh, we were in a restaurant and um, as we tried to pay, the lady said, Hey, sorry, it's already been taken care of by a couple who was here and they left.

[00:17:07] Matt: And she said, as a matter of fact, there were five different tables that tried to pay for your meal before they left. Uh, but it had already been taken care of and it just, It makes you understand that people actually do care and support us. 

[00:17:21] Jerry: Yeah, that means a lot. I mean, that little simple gesture of of buying a meal it's more impactful I think, than people think.

[00:17:28] Jerry: Right? It's just right. Gives you like the faith in humanity, I mean, and that there's people out there that support you because there, it's such a small vocal population that doesn't like law enforcement. And I don't know how, and that's a whole nother podcast probably on how they have such a big voice when they, they really shouldn't, I mean, right.

[00:17:48] Jerry: Have a big voice, Matt, like, what's, what's some of the things that you are like really passionate about in your job? Because you've done a lot of different things. You've covered, um, a lot of different, I guess, tasks within the department. Um, like what, what pushes you after almost 30 years? 

[00:18:07] Matt: And, um, well, I think like one of the, like my deep-seated motivating factors was I just always wanted to be a good cop, right?

[00:18:15] Matt: And so I always, I was always hungry to learn. Um, have as much knowledge as I could get and, and all over the place, not just, you know, pigeonhole myself into a specific, I just wanna know about this. I wanted to know about everything I didn't know about. And so I would always seek out as much training as I could, any training that I could get to.

[00:18:35] Matt: Uh, but I also didn't want to beat that guy where I was. Not working because I was always training. And so, um, I would get as much training as I could. But man, when I, when I strapped on my boots and, and, uh, put my gun on for the night, it was straight to work. And, and so as soon as I hit the streets, I was getting after it.

[00:18:52] Matt: And, uh, it, you know, I, I'm gonna say, This, but it, it'll be taken on by some people. But I, I was going out every night thinking I'm gonna put as many bad guys in jail as I can. So I want to arrest as many people as I can. Um, and it's the people that are breaking the laws. And so that would be my nightly goal, is get out there and get after it and put bad guys in jail and gain intel on anything I can to put bigger, bad guys in jail, learn as much as I can, and then hang out with people.

[00:19:22] Matt: That I viewed as good cops, better than me and people I wanted to learn from. And I would always try to get mentored by people I viewed as good, hard workers. Um, and that was always driving me. And, and again, it comes back to the core of I wanted to be known at the end of my career as a good cop. And so I wanted to, I feel like I.

[00:19:42] Matt: Constantly have to prove every day why I am worthy of wearing the badge and, and, you know, having the title. And so I would, that, that was really what I strived towards. Um, and then the other mo motivating factors are, are just your, my family and my country, right? And so I, I want family to have a good space to live in and I want my country.

[00:20:09] Matt: To be a good country for other families to have their space to live in. And so I really do feel like we're the protectors of all of that. And, uh, not only am I a community member, but I'm charged with and, and have the, uh, absolute pleasure of protecting the same community that I live in. And so those were all driving factors.

[00:20:29] Jerry: Yeah. Yeah. That's awesome. And I mean, you really are on the front line of. The country's, you know, border, right? I mean, you're down there doing the best you can and I, everybody will have their different opinions about, you know, the border. But, uh, you know, I, I, I have my, my own and I think a nice secure border would be very favorable in many ways to be American, uh, citizens and the way of our way of life.

[00:20:57] Matt: Yeah. And, and you know, when you talk about the border, uh, it's very emotional for some, because. Um, there's a human factor involved, right? And, and, uh, yeah, my wife is Mexican descent. Her mom immigrated here illegally at first from Chihuahua, Mexico, and then went back and got her legal citizenship. Um, and so, you know, I, I have, my kids are half Mexican, so I have a vested interest in, in that plight, but the problem is, Uh, in today's world of rhetoric and news cycles, they mix everything together and they, they make it seem like this whole border problem is all immigration and it's not.

[00:21:38] Matt: Immigration is a super small piece of this. Um, and what you have to focus on is that, uh, We have these used to be designated as drug trafficking organizations. That's what they call the cartels. They are now classified as transnational criminal organizations. And why that's important is that means they are worldwide and they're not just drugs, they are criminal organizations.

[00:22:00] Matt: So they're doing all kinds of stuff within their organization. And I can tell people, the cartels deal in people. They deal in drugs, they deal in counterfeit products. They deal in stolen oil, stolen gold, stolen jewels. Uh, so they're in everything. They're in human trafficking right now. That's the big commodity is human beings.

[00:22:20] Matt: And they're, they're moving them like we've never seen 'em move before. And so that's what people should think about and look at when we're talking about the border issues and immigration. Our immigration system sucks, dude. And uh, that's just point blank truth. They need to fix it so that. Because we need immigrants, right?

[00:22:38] Matt: Yeah. And we need to give people the ability to come to Amer. I mean, that's how we were formed. We need that ability to, to have those immigrants come here and get to a country where they're safe, especially if they're running from something. Um, that system needs to be revamped, but you cannot argue. I mean, you can argue, but you're wrong that we don't need borders because.

[00:23:00] Matt: You show me a country without borders, and that's not a country that you know, it, it just does not work. You have to have some type of system in place. And the the funny thing is the people that argue against borders here in America, um, if you go to other countries, you, you can't do what you're asking America to do.

[00:23:19] Matt: So you go to these other countries and they're like, no, you're not a citizen. No, you're not. You're not coming in and staying, you're not getting access to benefits. None of that stuff because they understand what happens. 

[00:23:29] Jerry: Yeah. Yeah, that's very, very true. I, I always think about that all the time, like the things that are happening here.

[00:23:36] Jerry: And if you went to another country and did 'em, you'd not have the same results. They'd be a lot worse results. 

[00:23:44] Matt: They would laugh you outta that country. Yeah. Like, no, we're, we're not doing that. Because they understand. And we can, we can tell you down here, um, Our sheriff went and testified in front of Congress, and while he was there, they also brought in the hospital administrator for Yuma, Arizona, and he was talking about the millions that they are losing because they're having to deal with illegals that are in the country using our resources that our taxpayers are paying for.

[00:24:11] Matt: And, you know, they're, they're using all these resources and they're depleting those resources. And so when you think about that, if, if I have to go to this hospital, And what would normally be a, let's say a hundred dollars bill for me is now a thousand dollars because they're trying to recoup costs because of the illegals coming across that they have.

[00:24:32] Matt: Yeah. And, and the hospitals are not gonna, um, deny them, you know, if you have somebody that needs the hospital, they're not gonna say no. And so it, it's just a, a vicious cycle right now of that kind of stuff. 

[00:24:43] Jerry: Yeah. It. I don't know one head down this road. But I mean, it's like, you know, there's, how do I phrase it?

[00:24:52] Jerry: Not not trying to be like ignorant or accuse anybody of being ignorant, but it just like the lack of these types of stories don't make it out, I guess is what I'm saying, into the mainstream of media for people to understand. They unfortunately only hear, you know, bits and pieces of things and that's what they form their opinion on. Not like this is a, you know, like you said, straining resources everywhere. Right? There's straining, not just hospital resources, it's just overall resources. Schools, right? Law enforcement, fire department, e m s, all its is draining. It's taxing 

[00:25:28] Matt: and it's not. It's not really ignorance, right? So to your point, not, uh, uh, not even offending people, um, because it's not ignorance people.

[00:25:38] Matt: People know what they know because of what they're fed. So the problem is not the people. There's, there's some problem with people because, uh, a, a good chunk of America is apathetic. They, they just don't wanna be involved. Right. Um, but the problem of, of the information that they're getting is that it's all skewed.

[00:25:56] Matt: And even for me, like if I'm getting my information from social, Social media or tv, it's very specific messaging that is targeted just towards the things that I've already shown that I've liked. And so you're stuck in this echo chamber of, of hearing and reaffirming the things that you think, and then you're thinking, well, that's the world, because I keep getting told that that's the way it is.

[00:26:18] Matt: But if you break outside of that and you look on the other side, you're like, wait a minute. You know, there's, there's more to the story. But then the problem is you can't get a, an unfettered. Story because they all have biases in them that they're feeding you. And so it's really tough these days to to be a person that can get just truly informed and make your own decision because you're being steered one way or another.

[00:26:43] Jerry: Yeah. Yeah. That's, that's perfectly well said. I mean, Matt, like you have, uh, you've got a, a lot of passion and you're so much passion. You wrote a book. 

[00:26:55] Matt: Yeah, yeah, I did. I would not have, uh, I would not have said that that was something, something that I was going to do, uh, as a young cop. Uh, even though I think we all in this career, as you go through life and you talk to your family about, you know, things you've done, things you've seen, everybody, and I talk about this in my book, everybody's like, oh man, you should write a book.

[00:27:16] Matt: And you're like, yeah, whatever. And, and you always al also think like people are not gonna believe this stuff that because they're just gonna be like, No way. No way that really happened. And you're like, yeah, that really happened. Because truth is stranger than fiction. It's not just the same. Yeah. And so anyways, yeah, I, uh, I decided to, uh,

[00:27:39] Matt: We did some very unique stuff as a, as a local law enforcement agency, as it related to battling the cartels. Um, and we had some very specific operations that we were involved in. Some of 'em, we were the head of those operations. Some of them were task force operations. Uh, but nonetheless we had some very specific, uh, Fights that we were fighting.

[00:27:56] Matt: And as I got later into my career into this position and, um, the, the, I wrote about kind of the oh 9, 10, 11 era of cartel fighting. And so, uh, that's what the book kind of focuses on, is operations from that timeframe. And I knew a, I was far enough away from the operations that, uh, I could talk about some of the stuff we did without putting people at risk.

[00:28:19] Matt: I could talk about some of the tactics we used without, uh, you know, Putting any operational security at risk. Um, and so I decided, ah, let's, let's write about it. So I wrote about the operations, and uh, then I knew that as part of writing about those operations, I knew much. Like when I go in and testify in front of a jury, I have to paint a full picture.

[00:28:41] Matt: So I said, man, if I just write about the operations, That'll be cool, but they have to have an understanding of kinda who I am, my upbringing, how I know what I know, and especially like how's a white guy talking about the Mexican culture. Um, and so I knew I had to lay groundwork, so I kind of started off the book with a little bit about me, how I grew up, how I got into law enforcement.

[00:29:03] Matt: Then I go into the culture of, uh, the narcos specifically, so the narco culture of the Mexican cartels. Talk about that and talk about their structure and some of their. And, uh, then I go into the operations themselves. So I kind of lay the groundwork in the beginning so they have an understanding when they're reading the operations of what means, what and why we're doing things we're doing and all that.

[00:29:24] Matt: Um, and yeah, I, I finished it and, uh, zero out of 10 star recommendation for writing a book because it's not as easy as I thought it was gonna be. Um, but nonetheless, uh, driving factor for that was, uh, again, Um, I wanted to get the stories down because I felt compelled to let people know less than 1% of the, the law enforcement in the US are doing this kind of work.

[00:29:51] Matt: And so I wanted to highlight the men and women that I had done that work with and the, the, just the good job they do behind this big curtain that everybody lives in. Um, and I was able to do that. And then I also wanted to get the message out there of what's really going on, like the stuff you are not gonna find on the news.

[00:30:09] Matt: Here's what's going on. 

[00:30:11] Jerry: Yeah. Yeah. Uh, Matt, I, I gotta ask you like, how did this, like, like what pivotal point where you're like, I'm gonna write this book. Like, what were you like driving home from work and you're like, yeah, the today is the day where I'm gonna like, do this? 

[00:30:25] Matt: Well, uh, the pivotal point was actually my boss, the, the sheriff.

[00:30:29] Matt: So there, there was a few driving factors. Um, my wife. During the time I was doing undercover work and this kind of work, uh, my wife knew I was out doing stuff. She knew some of the stuff we were doing was very dangerous, but she just didn't understand what was going on with those operations. And so as I moved into an administrative role and I felt more comfortable talking to her cuz I knew I was at the end of my career and I was, I, I was not a, a runner and gunner anymore.

[00:31:02] Matt: Um, and so I felt comfortable telling my wife some of the behind the scenes stuff that she didn't know about, uh, because I always felt like I wanted to kind of protect her from knowing that stuff so that she wasn't as worried about me while I was out and about. Um, so telling her some of the stories and she's like, oh my God.

[00:31:18] Matt: Like I, I had no idea. And, you know, you could make a movie out of that stuff. And so it was some of those conversations. And then having those same storytelling, uh, moments with the sheriff, honestly, cuz we spent, uh, his first year in office, we spent a lot of time together driving the state, getting to know each other, uh, meeting with other sheriffs, meeting with legislatures, all that kind of stuff.

[00:31:39] Matt: Lot of time to talk and, and just, uh, you know, debrief each other and, uh, He told me, he's like, dude, you have got to write a book with this stuff because these are, you know, these are amazing stories. And so he then writes his first book, and I, I was obviously, His second in command is he went through that process.

[00:31:58] Matt: So I watched the process play out. I watched the struggles he had, I watched the successes he had. Um, and I learned quite a bit just from him, just from being around while he was doing that. And so he kept pressing me. He's like, dude, you gotta do it. You, you've gotta do it. It's, it's a, you know, it's not that bad.

[00:32:14] Matt: You've seen what I've done. And so I jumped into it and, and, uh, it was, it was a little, it was about 2019 when I started putting pen to paper. And um, and he kind of told me, the sheriff told me like, just, just write a page at a time. But what I would find is I would get into a story and start writing and then you're in it and you're like, oh yeah, and then this, oh yeah, and then this, and then this.

[00:32:38] Matt: Um, and so I would knock out a whole chapter in one sitting. Um, And, but I would do it. It varies sporadically. And so, um, it took me about two years to finish all of that. And so, uh, that was the pivotal point for that. Pushed me into it. And then I started doing the writing. And once I finished the writing, that's where I really got the wake up call because I thought I wrote it.

[00:33:04] Matt: I have the manuscript, I'm done. And, uh, I figured out very quickly that that is just the beginning and, uh, had to go through the whole editing, formatting, you know, all the stuff that goes along with it and yeah, that's how I got there. 

[00:33:17] Jerry: Hey, man. Props for you doing it. That's, I mean, it sounds, um, we've, I've had other auth authors on and yeah, it's not an easy, easy process by, by eating means.

[00:33:28] Jerry: Did you, was it like therapeutic at all, like writing these stories down? 

[00:33:33] Matt: Yeah. Um, I tell people that too. They, it's a very cathartic experience sometimes because, uh, a, you're kind of reminiscing and then, you know, as you get into these stories, it's funny because you start remembering, you're like, oh yeah.

[00:33:47] Matt: And then, and then if you talk to some of your, cuz I did this, I talk to some of my teammates and I'd be like, Hey, remember this story, I'm, I'm kind of writing it down and, and they're like, Yeah, remember this part? Yeah. No, I didn't even remember that part. That's right. That happened. And so you would just relive these, these things and it was kind of cool to just relive it, and especially if you're talking to other guys that were there with you, uh, reliving it with them.

[00:34:11] Matt: Um, and then it, it does, it just, it gives you kind of this nostalgic thing and, and it's kind of cathartic as, as you, you write out these stories, uh, but then you, you also, uh, as you write. You're at least me. I was, I was thinking, man, am I gonna, do I sound too self-promoting? Does it sound corny? You know, you're thinking all those things.

[00:34:34] Matt: Yeah. So it's a weird experience all the way around, but at the end of the day, it, it was very rewarding to, to go through the process of writing. 

[00:34:43] Jerry: Yeah, I bet, I bet. I know. Just even just a little bit of journaling here and there, like just getting that stuff from your, outta your head and onto paper Yeah.

[00:34:52] Jerry: Is just, is a relief in its own way. Yeah. So, I mean, I have to ask like how, like you've had a long career in law enforcement and you've been, you've been buried during that time. Like how is, how'd that relationship go, especially like when you're doing this? Work, and I mean, I, I'm sure she can't be super pleased that you're like putting your life in these dangerous situations.

[00:35:15] Jerry: I mean, more so than on a daily basis if you're doing these different types of ops that you're writing about. 

[00:35:21] Matt: Yeah. Um, and so the funny thing is this, I, uh, I'll hit 30 years with the county in April and we'll be married 30 years in July. So she was with me on this whole ride right from the, from the beginning to the end.

[00:35:34] Matt: Um, and, uh, It is not easy being married to a cop in the first place. So, so she's an angel just for that. And then you take a cop like me who was a, I'm hardheaded. Uh, and I, I love challenges. So like if somebody told me you can't do this, and I'm kind of like Dana White, right? In that sense. Like, you fucking watch this.

[00:35:58] Matt: Yeah. And so I was that guy. Like, if they told me I couldn't do something, I'm like, oh, we're gonna do this. Um, so she knew I was kind of like that. And, uh, I'm not gonna lie, I was a little bit of an adrenaline junkie, so I liked doing the, the high speed shit. And so, um, all of that equals a wife who is not necessarily satisfied with some of my choices sometimes because she's like, really?

[00:36:20] Matt: You, you really gotta do that. Um, so you're a cop and now you wanna be a swat cop. Okay. So you, you're doing a dangerous job and then you're gonna go do the most dangerous of the dangerous. Okay. Um, and uh, how it worked though is really communication. That's, that's obviously the key to a lot of relationships.

[00:36:38] Matt: So just talking those decisions through, Hey, here's what I'm thinking, here's what I wanna do. And honestly, she was super supportive. Um, all the time on, on my career piece. She would just be like, if that's, if that's where you think you wanna go, if that's what you think you wanna do. And I'd be like, yeah, cause that's what I'm good at.

[00:36:55] Matt: That's what I wanna do. Um, when I was undercover, it was, it was stressful. Um, because you're, you're essentially living a double life and uh, you really have to. Um, you have to kind of train for that. You have to train your family for that because there were times where we would enter a store and, uh, we had already rehearsed this and talked about it and everything, but I would run into somebody that I was dealing with and we would have to go through our planned action, uh, for that event.

[00:37:24] Matt: And so, you know, cuz I want to disassociate myself from any of my family if I'm dealing with bad guys. And so we would talk through plans of action and we had to, you know, we had to activate on a, on a time or two. Um, but again, that goes back to communication. And uh, and it was not all roses, man. I'm gonna tell you, we're on the verge of divorce, probably halfway through my career.

[00:37:46] Matt: Um, we, we had separated for a little bit. We were on the verge of divorce, and then we decided we had too much invested and we were gonna, you know, work it out and, and push forward, and, which we did. And, and I'm no quitter. She's no quitter. And so we pushed through those hard times and, uh, back then even.

[00:38:08] Matt: We sought counseling and you know, just talked through, worked through. And I think part of the problem, I, well, I don't think I know, uh, it's just hard to admit, uh, part of the problem, problem was I was a cop and it's hard for cops to not be a cop when you're not at work. And so that was one of the biggest factors in.

[00:38:32] Matt: Us having issues was me not being able to turn off the cop stuff and treating your family like suspects or treating your wife like you're interrogating her and you don't even know you're doing it. You're just doing what you do. Uh, but it, it can hurt relationships and so, Her ability to be strong and tell me some of that stuff to my face that was not easy to hear or accept.

[00:38:56] Matt: And then, uh, me being smart enough to listen to her on occasion and, uh, try and fix some of that. And then I think, uh, I think another problem in this career is how cynical and jaded you become and how that kind of carries over to your personal life. And so you have to keep all that stuff in check. And, uh, that's, that's what I did and, and my last, probably my last decade in this career.

[00:39:23] Matt: Um, so from year 20 to 30 has been, The best as far as family life is concerned, uh, because I've paid more attention to that and I have listened to her more than I have before. And quite frankly, a lot of that has to do with me, uh, going back to church cuz I had gotten away from church. And so going back to my faith and having that peace there, because I think no matter what your faith is, I think if you believe in a higher power, That, that gives you a really good grounding to work from and a good base to work from, um, and gives you something to lean on.

[00:40:00] Matt: To do right. By your personal relationships. 

[00:40:03] Jerry: Yeah. Yeah. I think that would be, I mean, right. I'm like, I think, and I'm like, back to you. I'm like, yeah, I know. That's, that's, those things are hard to he to hear, and I think that's probably what happens if you hear them over and over and over and you don't make those changes.

[00:40:19] Jerry: Then you are gonna lead to rule bad struggles in your relationship if not divorce. Like were like, when those things were brought up, how did you process 'em? Was there like, okay, like did it take you a while to like process 'em and like implement some strategies? Like, okay, I can't do that and be that way.

[00:40:37] Matt: Yeah, it, I, it's a, it's not easy, dude. It's hard to hear that you suck, right? Yeah. Um, whether it be suck at parenting, suck at being a husband, suck at work, it's hard to hear that. But you need to hear it and you need, I think that's why the family piece is so important, because you need a family that's willing to say like, Hey, I know you think you're great.

[00:40:58] Matt: But you suck and this is what you suck at, and we'd love you. That's why we're telling you you suck at that because we'd really like you not to suck at that. And so, um, it's, it's having a strong family that is willing to do that. It's you having created the environment to, for them to feel comfortable doing that.

[00:41:18] Matt: And then you accepting that feedback and working on yourself. And it's a constant work, dude. Like it's every day you're working on it because, uh, there's there every week I make mistakes with my family and that's the one thing I don't wanna screw up. And I think what really like set at home for me was watching other guys destroy relationships with their families and doing it over and over and over.

[00:41:43] Matt: And then watching some older guys retire and I realized, There was an epiphany at one point, and again, it was probably midway through my career that I realized when I leave this place, this place doesn't give a fuck about me. But those people that I'm damaging right now and are leaving my life, they do.

[00:42:02] Matt: Yeah. And so when I'm all done, I want them around because they care about me and the place is just gonna keep moving forward. Different faces, different people. And so that was the epiphany that really kicked me in the gut. That made me realize I have got to make some changes because I don't want to be a lonely old man that has alienated my kids and people who love me because of this job.

[00:42:26] Jerry: Yeah. That is like amazing advice. Like I will definitely create a sound bite out of that. That is ama That really, truly is amazing advice. I mean, wouldn't you give that same advice to like some of your, your new officers? 

[00:42:40] Matt: Oh, absolutely. We have those discussions and, and I, I, You try to tell 'em, like, listen, I know this is very cliche, but learn from me.

[00:42:48] Matt: Like, don't make the mistakes I made. Right. And, and luckily I didn't, uh, I was able to, to recoup and, uh, you know, keep my family intact, keep a, a marriage intact. Um, but it's very easily, easily lost if you, if you don't. And so, yeah, we, we tell our young guys and, and we're more family oriented, I guess, than we ever have been.

[00:43:08] Matt: And, uh, More open discussions about working on yourself, more open discussions about focusing on your family, focusing on your mental wellbeing, and that's all stuff that was taboo back in the day, right? Yeah. You didn't talk about your mental health. Um, you just sucked it up and you moved forward and it was kind of a badge of honor if you were on your third wife, which is kind of ridiculous if you think about it.

[00:43:32] Matt: Yeah. Yeah. So all of, all of the, that culture has changed and we as leaders, Have to be part of that. We have to show them the way. And if we're showing them the wrong way, uh, then, I mean, we're really damaging this career and we're damaging the legacy of our leadership because our, our, our legacy should be good like that we've done good.

[00:43:52] Matt: And that's one of the things we tell our people is we, we wanna return you to your family better than when we got you. Right. So if we can help that, then, then that's a, a good thing for us. 

[00:44:03] Jerry: Yeah. I, I mean, you kind of touched on like the mental health, uh, portion of, of this job and stuff like that. Do, do you have like a, a tip that you would like to throw out and give to the audience that are listening as far as that are in like, 

[00:44:17] Matt: my, my tip would be, uh, because it, it's very unnatural for us in our profession because we think in our profession, we don't think we.

[00:44:26] Matt: We are designed to control things, control scenes, uh, control incidents. We are very control oriented. Uh, but when it comes to ourself, we don't maintain good control. Uh, because it, it becomes an illusion in that sense because you think you can control your home life. You think you can control your mental health, um, and you can't.

[00:44:49] Matt: And, and so, My advice would be that, a, you have to acknowledge and understand that you do not have control of certain things, and mental health is one of those things. You do not have control of that because your brain is so powerful that you can override it for a little bit and in some instances, but it's gonna rear its ugly head at some point, and it's gonna be at the most inopportune times.

[00:45:11] Matt: I, I can tell you a story of, of a debrief I did. I had nothing to do with the call. I just happened to be in the area, so I had to go to this debrief. So nothing to do with anything on this thing. And. They started doing the debrief and I lost my shit. I became like overwhelmingly emotional and I'm like, what is wrong man?

[00:45:32] Matt: And so, you know, the counselors are like, Hey, we want to talk to you. And you're like, no, just leave me the fuck alone. I'm fine. I just don't know what's going on. And then they're explaining to you or they're trying to, we know what's going on. Here it is. And so, you know, they try to explain to you how we tend to compartmentalize stuff.

[00:45:47] Matt: Yeah. But that compartment gets full. You have zero control. And so it's better and, and something we're focusing on now is. Um, as critical incidents happen, or even incidents that bother you as those happens, you, you debrief those, you go to your counselor. Yeah. You talk those things through, uh, because that's gonna help your, your mental health and, and so embrace that from the get-go.

[00:46:11] Matt: Um, I would say as soon as you hit the academy, start, you know, find you a police counselor, not just a regular counselor. Yeah. Yeah. Have somebody that knows cops. Um, Find you a counselor and start working with them because they're gonna keep you as normal as you can possibly be, um, as a, a human being that is performing the duties of a cop.

[00:46:33] Matt: And don't be embarrassed by that. We talk about it openly here. I, I tell, you know, my people that I, I see a counselor, she's one of the best people I know out there in the business, and it has helped tremendously because the other thing that has not talked about a lot that should be is the physiological effects.

[00:46:51] Matt: That mental health has on your body Yeah. That you have no control over. So when I started having high blood pressure, uh, becoming pre-diabetic, um, having heart palpitations, all of these physiological things were going on, and I'm like, dude, I work out all the time. I watch what I eat. I, you know, I'm doing this and I'm doing that.

[00:47:10] Matt: And you talk to a professional that says, Bro, and I, I have a great doctor that is just a good, he's like, bro, you can't stop this, this, this is, these are all typical first responder physiological responses. Yeah. To how you guys live your life. And so embrace all that stuff, the mental health piece you have to dive into right off the bat.

[00:47:32] Jerry: Yeah. Yeah, I've been teaching some peer counseling lately, and, uh, one of the things I've been tossing out ideas onto different departments is, you know, we have FTOs for like, you know, we'll just say the technical side of the, the job and stuff like that, right? But like, sign a peer counselor to that person when they start getting into the department.

[00:47:52] Jerry: And then, you know, and like you said, you know, find someone that you can go see in the beginning, because if you're. An old dog like me, and you have got to like, like you're starting to like really realize all this stuff that you're, she just talked about and you want to unwind it. Like it takes a long time to unwind it.

[00:48:09] Jerry: And it's just not unwinding like the, the mental health portions of the things. It's your personality too, which is really kind of tough to change after you've kind of been this one person for so long. 

[00:48:21] Matt: Yeah, it is. And, and, uh, I, I think the other thing I would say is don't rely on other cops like that aren't professional counselors because I mean, it's good to talk to your buddies and stuff about stuff, but here, here's what I have seen in my experience is that what bothers me may not bother you and what bothers you may not bother me.

[00:48:42] Matt: Yeah. What tends to happen is just in this career, we're kind of a macho career and we're a type personalities. So if. If you go to some call that, that I would view as a minimal call, but for some reason it triggered something in you that it triggered an emotional response or you know, something with your mental health where you're like, dude, And it really bothered you.

[00:49:06] Matt: And you come to me and you're like, yeah, man, you know, I, I went on this call where this husband and this fight or husband and wife got in a fight and he punched her like, yeah, fucking get over it dude. And let's go. Uh, you know, that may be my response to you. And then what that tells you is like, shut up.

[00:49:21] Matt: Don't talk about that. Uh, because that's a very minimal thing and it shouldn't bother you when in actuality. You may have something down in your brain. Yeah. You specifically that it bothers and you have to address that. And so that's where having a professional is, is absolutely needed because you have to address that.

[00:49:43] Matt: Because if you don't, you're gonna do that com compartmental, mentalization thing, and it's just gonna jack you up more. And, and same for me, like I. You know, it, it may be something that bothers me and, and, um, each one of us is very unique in our upbringing, what we've seen. Mm-hmm. What we've done and what affects us.

[00:50:00] Jerry: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Definitely. And those, that's great advice, uh, Matt, I really appreciate that. Matt, is there anything you wanna touch on that's in your book that we'd like, you want the audience to, to know so they can go read that? 

[00:50:13] Matt: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So, uh, a I've been told, uh, that. It reads really well.

[00:50:19] Matt: So that's all I could hope for as an author, right? Yeah. I, I keep the readers engaged. So, um, the, the, the, especially the cops, when, when I talk to cops, I'm like, what did you think? And they're like, dude, it was awesome. It was solid. That's what I want to hear, right? Yeah. Uh, so. From, uh, from the reviews, it'll keep you captured.

[00:50:36] Matt: I know the stories are exciting for me, so I know they should be exciting for other people. Um, and if they're looking for the book, they can find it on all the platforms. I have my own, my own website, which is uh, all one word, one time nation.com. They can go there, uh, they can get author signed, copy or whatever.

[00:50:52] Matt: Uh, but Apple Books, Kindle, Amazon, all that stuff that's there as well. And uh, yeah, just. I, I think if they want to, to see what's really going on down here, get a picture into kind of the fight we fight and, and have fought, uh, it'll give them that. And it also gives them a little bit of background on the culture of the cartels and the Mexican culture as we see it down here, and gives them some insight into that world.

[00:51:19] Jerry: Yeah. Awesome. Matt, do you have a social media presence too? 

[00:51:23] Matt: I do, uh, I am mainly on Instagram. I'm on LinkedIn a little bit more now cause I've been kind of paying attention to that as I get to the end of my career. Um, LinkedIn is, is just my name, uh, Matthew Thomas. And then, uh, Instagram, I am deputy underscore one time.

[00:51:41] Matt: And, uh, there's a story there. I'll tell it in a minute. So, deputy underscore one time is my IG handle and that's where I'm most active. Uh, and the, uh, everybody always asks, About that, right? The deputy one time. Yeah. So if you're a cop, if you've been a cop for any amount of time, you know that the gangsters refer to us as one time in some areas.

[00:52:00] Matt: And so, like when I was young growing up, that was one of the things that would get yelled out when, when cops hit the block, they, everybody started yelling one time. One time. So, uh, and the cops were there. Yeah. And so, um, I'm a deputy sheriff, as I said in the beginning. And I'm a one time, I know that. So I just put 'em together and boom.

[00:52:17] Matt: There you go. 

[00:52:19] Jerry: I love, love the creativeness. Definitely love the creativeness. Matt, thank you so much for being on today. That was an incredible episode. Um, I mean, it definitely entertained and I really love your insight into the, you know, relationships and mental health part, especially I think there's some good things that each one of us that are listening, no matter what line of work you're in, you can take something from that.

[00:52:43] Matt: Yeah. Absolutely. I appreciate you having me on and, and love talking to people and, and getting the message out there. 

[00:52:49] Jerry: Yeah. Thank you Matt. 

[00:52:51] Jerry: Thanks again for listening. Don't forget to rate and review the show wherever you access your podcast. If you know someone that would be great on the show. Please get a hold of our host, Jerry Dean Lund through the Instagram handles at Jerry Fire and Fuel, or at Enduring the Badge Podcast.

[00:53:14] Jerry: Also by visiting the show's website, enduring the badge podcast.com for additional methods of contact and up to date information regarding the show. Remember the views and opinions expressed during the show. So we represent films of our host and the current episodes guest.

Matthew ThomasProfile Photo

Matthew Thomas

Chief Deputy/Author

Matt is a native of Arizona, growing up in Phoenix. He is married to his wife of 29 years and has three children. Matt has been employed with the Pinal County Sheriff ’s Office for over 29 years, starting his career as a Detention Officer in 1993 and promoted through the ranks to his current position of Chief Deputy. He has served in several specialty units—Detention, Patrol, Traffic, Training, the Police Academy, Motors, Narcotics, and Investigations. Having served 18 years on the Pinal Regional SWAT team as a member, team leader, and finishing as the team commander, he was involved in and/or led over 700 missions during his tenure on SWAT. Matt has also worked in an undercover capacity, both as a detective and as a sergeant, while assigned to the Narcotics Unit. He has worked and supervised everything from street-level drug cases to large, organized-crime cases in a cartel-infested environment.
Matt’s current assignment is as the Sheriff ’s Executive Officer, serving as second-in-command for the agency. He oversees and manages all operations for over 650 employees and volunteers in a county that covers over 5,400 square miles and has an approximate population of 500,000. He has served as a regional representative and the Vice President of the Arizona Tactical Officers Association and is a member of the Executive Board for the Point 27 Foundation. He is a graduate of Leadership in Police Organizations and the FBI National Academy, session 261.
Matt holds additional duties as a law enforcement trainer for basic and advanced officer training in leadership, tactics, narcotics, Mexican cartels, and several other specialty areas. He has instructed for High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA), National Tactical Officers Association, Arizona Narcotics Investigators Association, Washington State Investigators Association, Georgia FBI National Academy State Chapter, National Rifle Association, and multiple agencies throughout the U.S. Matt serves as an expert on the Southwest border issues and the problems associated with the Mexican cartels in Arizona. He has spearheaded large-scale operations targeting the Mexican cartels and smuggling operations at the local, state, and federal levels. Matt is known for his collaborative efforts in working with local, state, and federal partners to fight organized crime in his county, state, and nation. He continues to do his part in fighting these criminal groups.