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article imageRep. Gabrielle Giffords champions last anti-drug smuggling bill

By Nancy Houser     Jan 25, 2012 in Politics
Washington - The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed an anti-drug smuggling bill championed by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords just before she officially resigned. The bill passed at 408-0. Some members refused to vote.
According to Arizona's Tuscon Sentinel, the bill is officially called the Giffords-Flake bill. Now passed, "it will apply anti-smuggling laws to ultralight aircraft now used by traffickers to move illegal drugs across the U.S.-Mexican border."
A bipartisan effort, both U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake and Gabrielle Giffords are co-sponsors of the bill, one that Gabby had been working on before she was shot. The bill was introduced this past Monday by both bipartisan representatives. Giffords' spokesman, Mark Kimble, declined to comment Tuesday on the timing of Giffords' resignation, but announced that a vote for the bill will be her final act as a congresswoman.
In a personal interview between Gabrielle Giffords and the Tuscon Sentinel before the vote was passed, she said,
"If it becomes law, individuals caught smuggling using ultralights can be prosecuted for using the aircraft in addition to being prosecuted for the drugs in their possession. If they are convicted of this new offense, they can receive a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. This bill will establish the same penalties for smuggling drugs on ultralights as for those who smuggle using airplanes or automobiles."
Priority Arizona smuggling has been in the news recently when an Arizona sting caught two state officials involved in a drug smuggling ring transporting drugs across the border -- a U.S. Border Patrol agent and an Arizona state jailer -- according to Deadline Live. The two individuals were conspiring to help traffickers smuggle drugs from Mexico into far western Arizona between September 2010 and January 2012.
NOTE: Just two days before she was shot last year, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had called on her colleagues to cut their pay by five percent. That measure has not advanced.
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