PHOENIX – U.S. Attorney Paul K. Charlton has announced he will resign his position as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona and take a position as a partner with the firm of Gallagher and Kennedy, P.A. Charlton will step down at the end of January after more than five years as U.S. Attorney in which his office addressed many pressing challenges posed by terrorism, public corruption, illegal
immigration, methamphetamine, and ensuring the rights of victims of federal crimes, among many others.
“Paul Charlton has been an extraordinary public servant during a time of grave challenge to our national security,” said U.S. Senator Jon Kyl. “We will miss his strong and principled leadership.”
USA Charlton made the announcement to his staff Monday afternoon. “I am immensely proud of what the men and women of this office have accomplished over the past five years,” Charlton stated.
“I am grateful to the President, the Department of Justice and Arizona’s dedicated law enforcement community for this incredible opportunity to serve. I’m excited to open a new chapter in my career, and
to face the very new and different challenges of private practice.”
Paul K. Charlton was appointed U.S. Attorney by President George W. Bush on November 12, 2001 and confirmed by the United States Senate. In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Charlton established the Anti-Terrorism Task Force (now called ATAC – the Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council), which has improved statewide law enforcement communication and coordination to fight terrorism and explored how to better secure nuclear power plants, water supply, air travel, rail transportation, and
computer security. In 2006, Charlton established a National Security Division within the U.S. Attorney’s Office to actively work with law enforcement agencies on terrorism related criminal cases.
FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Division John E. Lewis stated: “Paul Charlton has supported the FBI’s investigative efforts on many fronts and has been most proactive concerning the
Bureau’s number one priority, protecting the United States from terrorist attacks. As the FBI works with many law enforcement agencies concerning terrorism matters, USA Charlton has dedicated resources
to support terrorism investigations and other national security issues. I applaud and appreciate USA Charlton’s work as he has served the District of Arizona.”
“Paul Charlton has served Arizona exceptionally well over the last five years,” said Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard. “He has forged partnerships across state, local and federal jurisdiction,
and this has made Arizona a safer place to live.”
Another chief goal of USA Charlton has been to advocate for the rights of federal crime
victims. He expanded the Victim Advocate staff in his office to better serve crime victims. In 2002, the
U.S. Attorney’s Office Victim Witness Program was awarded the Federal Service Award and this the U.S. Department of Justice announced that the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s Office would serve
as a national “Model Program.”
In an effort to address the growing problems posed by methamphetamine, in the summer of 2005, Charlton met with Arizona federal and tribal law enforcement agencies to discuss how to confront
the methamphetamine problems in Indian Country. After gaining commitments for assistance from federal and tribal law enforcement, he consulted with and invited Arizona’s 21 tribes to participate in the
Arizona Indian Country Methamphetamine Eradication Initiative. Since then, numerous Indian tribes have engaged in the Initiative, resulting in multiple arrests of methamphetamine dealers in the Navajo
Nation, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, the San Carlos Apache and the White Mountain Apache tribal communities.
“Paul has proven time and time again to be an outstanding law enforcement leader for the people of Arizona,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Timothy J. Landrum. “I have developed a strong
personal and professional relationship with Paul. His innovative initiatives to combat crime on tribal
lands and to battle the scourge of methamphetamine will leave a standing legacy that other federal districts will strive to emulate. His dedication to protecting the people of Arizona and the United States
will be missed, but never forgotten.”
In 2004, USA Charlton joined U.S. Attorneys in Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado to address Indian tribal concerns over the damage, theft, and trafficking in cultural patrimony and archeological
resources. Together they initiated a 90-day amnesty from federal prosecution, resulting in telephone tips
and returns of cultural patrimony belonging to tribes throughout the Southwest.
“It is with regret that the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona extends its heart felt good wishes to Paul Charlton,” said Inter Tribal Council Executive Director John Lewis. “Paul has proven to be very
responsive to the law enforcement needs of tribal governments in Arizona. He understands the sovereign status of the tribes and the U.S. Government’s commitment to recognize this status and at the same time
the need to carry out the U.S. Government’s constitutional directed responsibility of Trust for Indian tribes. He will be greatly missed.”
U.S. Attorney Charlton made public corruption cases a priority, sending a clear message that the U.S. Attorney’s Office would hold public officials to the highest standards of ethical conduct. He
joined with federal, state, and local law enforcement to identify, investigate, and aggressively prosecute
corrupt public officials.
This included several successful prosecutions of corrupt border officials, such as Fernando Arango and Michael Anderson, who received stiff penalties for taking bribes from and
assisting narcotics traffickers.
“U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton has been a steadfast supporter of law enforcement and has played
a tremendous part in the United States Border Patrol’s efforts in bringing control to our nation’s borders,”
stated National Border Patrol Chief David V. Aguilar, the chief Border Patrol officer for the United States. “The void left by U.S. Attorney Charlton’s departure will be one that will be felt by the entire
law enforcement community. Arizona can and should be proud of Mr. Charlton for what he has done for his country and state during his tenure.”
USA Charlton also worked to build the capacity of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to address pressing issues of illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and crimes in Indian Country. In 2002, Charlton
made temporary offices in Yuma and Flagstaff permanent, and during his tenure he brought on 16 new
Assistant U.S. Attorney positions. Under his leadership, the U.S. Attorney’s Office expanded prosecutions, increasing the number of criminal cases charged in federal district court from 3,979 in
fiscal year 2001 to 5,026 in FY 2005.
Arizona Department of Public Safety Director Roger Vanderpool stated: “The law enforcement
community is losing a great partner. Paul has shown he is a man of great integrity. He is a proven leader
and will be missed.”
Cochise County Sheriff Larry A. Dever stated: “I was saddened to hear Paul is leaving us. He has served Arizona law enforcement and the people of the State of Arizona in the highest traditions of
the office. It has been a great honor to work with him over the past several years and I will miss my friend. We wish him the best in his new endeavor.”
The Attorney General will appoint an interim U.S. Attorney who will serve until such time as
the President nominates and the Senate confirms a new U.S. Attorney. In the interim, USA Charlton
pledged to work with the Department of Justice and Arizona’s law enforcement community to ensure a
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