I have to admit that I’m fairly ambivalent about the whole boarder issue here in Arizona. While I don’t condone illegal entry, I do think the majority of people coming have good intentions. However, there is definitely a problem with the amount of illegal traffic. The following article is from a local news site. The area they are talking about is just a few miles south of my home. This all happened in a one week period. I added it up, they stopped over 5 tons of marijuana. They say for every drug smuggler they stop, three get through. Makes you think.
The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office has been kept busy the last two weeks, disrupting numerous drug and human smuggling operations in the Vekol Valley area southwest of Maricopa. This morning, PCSO spokesman Tim Gaffney released details regarding those cases.
On Wednesday, November 17th, PCSO deputies discovered a 2002 Ford F250 truck driving with no lights in the desert area. The deputies followed the vehicle for a short distance but the truck fled. The vehicle was located a short time later, abandoned. The truck had been reported stolen by a City of Phoenix resident. The rear tail lights were smashed out and he paint was badly damaged as a result of the vehicle being driven through the thick desert brush. The vehicle appeared to have been used to transport illegal aliens.
Deputies attempted to stop a 2000 Chevy minivan, near Interstate 8, the same day. The vehicle fled and was traveling in excess of 100 mph. Deputies backed away from the vehicle because of the dangerous driving. The vehicle was located abandoned a short time later. Deputies followed foot tracks from the vehicle and took an illegal immigrant (age 17) into custody. The van was packed with eleven bundles of marijuana and an additional bundle was located near the suspect.
On Thursday, November 18th, three trucks were observed traveling in a row near I-8. Deputies attempted to stop the vehicles but they split off from each other and began to travel through the desert. The trucks were eventually stopped and the drivers were taken into custody. One of the drivers attempted to escape by jumping into a canal but came out because of the cold water. The vehicles were headed to I-8 to pick up loads of illegal immigrants.
Also that day. deputies observed seven individuals carrying large brown burlap bundles on their back near Interstate 8. As deputies attempted to contact them they fled into the desert. Six of them dropped their backpacks and were able to get away. Ernesto Salazar (age 29) ran with his backpack and was taken into custody. Ernesto told deputies, he was in the United States illegally from Caborca, Mexico. (350 pounds of marijuana was seized.)
Friday, November 19th, PCSO located two abandoned trucks in the desert loaded with marijuana. Both trucks were reported stolen. The trucks contained a total of 3,700 pounds of marijuana.
On Sunday, November 21st, PCSO deputies stopped a Ford Explorer and immediately could smell the odor of marijuana. The vehicle contained ten bundles of marijuana. Three suspects were taken into custody. The total weight of the marijuana was 240 pounds.
Also that day, a vehicle containing seven illegal immigrants was stopped. They were turned over to Border Patrol. And an abandoned truck was located in the desert area with 1,750 lbs of marijuana.
Monday, November 22nd, a Ford F250 was observed driving with no lights near I-8. The vehicle contained approximately fifty (50) illegal immigrants in the cab and bed of the truck. All of the individuals fled when the vehicle was stopped. Six were taken into custody and turned over to Border Patrol. One of the individuals attempted to escape by jumping into a canal and had to be rescued by deputies.
Six subjects were located hiding in a wash near Interstate 8. Deputies also recovered communications equipment and fourteen bundles of marijuana. The total weight of the marijuana was 220 pounds.
Three trucks loaded with 2,035 pounds of marijuana loaded in them were also discovered that day.
On Tuesday, November 23rd, six illegal immigrants were located in a residential neighborhood, with marijuana backpacks, and were taken into custody. The total weight of the marijuana was 246 pounds.
Saturday, November 27th, PCSO was involved with two separate vehicle pursuits. Both trucks eventually stopped and both drivers were taken into custody. The total weight of the marijuana seized was 2,140 pounds.
And on Sunday, November 28th, PCSO was notified of a dead body in the desert. Saul Soto-Aguirre (age 29 of Morellia, Michoacan, Mexico) reported he, the deceased (age 42) and four other individuals had paid a guide $1,300 each to lead them into the United States from Mexico. All of them had been walking for the three days and had not eaten in two days. The victim fell while walking and the remainder of the group and guides continued on. Deputies followed the foot tracks of the other four but they disappeared once they hit I-8. Saul was turned over to Border Patrol.
Pinal County Sheriff Babeu stated, “We will continue to direct as many resources as possible to this area. I have joined my deputies during several of these shifts and continue to see the problems our Pinal County residents are faced with on a daily basis. The men and women of the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office are doing all that we can to help stop the continuous flow of drugs and human trafficking from Mexico.”