San Diego prosecutor selected as U.S. attorney

The prosecutor who led the team that secured the guilty plea of Francisco Javier Arellano Felix and several other members of the notorious Arellano Felix drug cartel has been selected by President Barack Obama to be the next U.S. attorney in San Diego.

She is Laura Duffy, now the Deputy Chief of the General Crimes Section at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego and previously an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the office’s Narcotics Enforcement Section.

Duffy’s selection was announced by the White House, along with that of Wifredo Ferrer for the Southern District of Florida, Alicia Limtiaco for Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, and John Stevens Jr. for the Eastern District of Texas.

“These distinguished men and women have shown extraordinary commitment and integrity in their pursuit of justice. I am confident they will serve the American people wisely and effectively as United States attorneys,” Obama said in a statement.

Duffy, who was nominated by Democratic California Sen. Barbara Boxer, will replace U.S. Attorney Karen Hewitt if confirmed by the Senate.

With 120 prosecutors, the U.S. Attorney’s office in San Diego is the nation’s third-busiest, handling all federal litigation, including the prosecution of federal crimes, in San Diego and Imperial counties.

Duffy graduated from Iowa State University in 1988 and the Creighton University School of Law in 1993.

From 1993 to 1997, she worked for the criminal division of the Justice Department, first as a trial attorney for the money laundering section, then as a trial attorney for the narcotics and dangerous drug section. She joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California, the formal name of the San Diego office, in 1997.