SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — The California Association of Special Agents – which represents law enforcement personnel assigned to 52 criminal task forces in California – told CBS 5 on Thursday night that the state plans to cut half of all the task force agents statewide due to the budget crisis.

Alex Nocon, an undercover agent who is a representative of the association, said the public needs to be aware of what he contends is a dangerous plan to get rid of many of these elite investigators — who have helped solve some well-known cases.

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Nocon said special agents on these task forces have worked undercover conducting electronic surveillance on such high-profile investigations as the Scott Peterson case, the Sandra Cantu murder case and a recent bust at Artichoke Joe’s involving loan sharking and Asian organized crime.

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Both Gov. Jerry Brown and state Attorney General Kamala Harris have been quoted as saying that these special agents are some of the best trained in the world and arepresent a secret weapon for California law enforcement, but the harsh reality is this secret weapon may be cut come Dec. 1.

“The Attorney General has been working very hard to restore any and all of the funding for these task forces. There is still active conversation with the Governor’s Office,” a spokesperson for Harris told CBS 5.

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Juliette Goodrich