LULAC Unity Event Honors Sheriff Antonio “Tony” Estrada Recipient of 2018 Ohtli Award for Lifetime of Service

Phoenix, AZ - The League of United Latin American Citizens will recognize Antonio “Tony” Estrada, Sheriff of Santa Cruz County, Arizona who will receive Mexico’s highest civilian honor bestowed for distinguished service during the 2018 LULAC Unity Luncheon, Thursday, July 19th at its Annual National Convention and Exposition in Phoenix, Arizona.

“We are extremely pleased and excited that Sheriff Tony, our friend and hero is being acknowledged for more than fifty years of faithful service to his community,” said Sindy Benavides, Acting CEO and Chief Operating Officer. “At a time when millions of Latinos in the United States live with the daily fear of law enforcement, Tony Estrada is one of the finest examples of an officer devoted to ensuring public safety while respecting the rights and freedoms of all residents in his jurisdiction,” she adds.

Antonio “Tony” Estrada was born in Nogales, Mexico and moved across the border to Nogales, Arizona as a young boy. He grew up with a unique perspective of “dos Nogales” living side by side, divided only by a demarcation line between nations but whose local border communities are inextricably intertwined. His first job in law enforcement was as a dispatcher for the Nogales Police Department. During the next 25-years, his dedication and hard work earned him promotions through the ranks until he became Police Captain, the second-highest command position on the force, until his retirement.

“My heart has always been to serve the people of my hometown so when people asked me to run for Sheriff, I decided to do so to help my community,” says Sheriff Tony. “I thought this would be for a short while and here I am, five terms and another quarter-century later, but it’s been a career I’ve loved, and which hopefully has been helpful to all the residents of Santa Cruz County,” he adds.

The Ohtli Award or Reconocimiento Ohtli is an honor the Mexican Government gives to Mexican citizens who work in the United States and other countries and who have given assistance to Mexican citizens or promoted their culture. The award acknowledges their contributions which have opened a road for others and positively affected the lives of Mexican nationals.

The Executive Director of the Institute of Mexicans Abroad (IME) shared: “Mexico recognizes and appreciates the contributions of individuals that go above and beyond their level of duty to defend the Mexican community at the local and national levels and set an example of the importance of the interaction between our communities to create a path of cooperation and trust.”

“The LULAC Unity Luncheon is the highlight event of our annual national convention devoted to the principle that bringing individuals and cultures of different backgrounds together makes us stronger and empowers us to better help others using the skills, abilities and talents with which we have each been blessed,” says Benavides. “Sheriff Tony is one of the greatest examples of a human being who understands and lives the sacred symbol of the Ohtli, Nahuatl for path, and the Aztec god, to eliminate barriers and create opportunities for others,” she concludes.


The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit

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