The Frontera Fund has quickly grown to become one of the most important charitable and community groups expanding on the good works done for the members of the Hispanic community. The establishment of The Frontera Fund of Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin has its roots in a single incident coming from the investigation completed by the two journalists into the controversial former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio; in response to a series of articles published by the writers in their own Phoenix New Times newspaper, Sheriff Arpaio set out to intimidate Larkin and Lacey in a way that led to a $3.75 million financial settlement for the executives of Village Voice Media.
Larkin and Lacey had attracted the attention of the Maricopa County Sheriff following a series of articles written by them regarding the numerous cases of abuse committed by Joe Arpaio and his employees in Arizona law enforcement. Accusations of intimidation and corruption have followed Joe Arpaio throughout his career and came to a head in 2007 when Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey were arrested in their own homes in the dead of night; the illegal arrest of the pair came after they were the subject of an illegal warrant obtained using misleading information calling for details of Phoenix New Times subscribers and their personal information.
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were illegally detained on the orders of Sheriff Arpaio after publishing a story based on the Supreme Court warrant and the threat to the First Amendment rights of the subscribers to the Phoenix New Times posed by the controversial sheriff. After being removed from their homes in an illegal way Larkin and Lacey were divided and placed in different jails on a trumped up charge of obstruction of justice; the writers were the subject of a national outcry and released without charge less than 24 hours after they were detained. The incident in 2007 led to a lawsuit and $3.75 million in damages awarded to Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin resulting in the award being used to create The Frontera Fund. The Frontera Fund has since fought for the rights of Hispanic and minority groups across the Southwest and publicized the continued racist rhetoric designed to inflame tensions with the Hispanic population of the U.S.