Wednesday, July 28, 2010
by Ronnie Spangler
This was my second trip to the southern borders within the last month. This time I flew into Yuma, Arizona and drove home to Tennessee. I traveled along I-8 and I-10 to El Paso and picked up I-20. I had to cut the trip short so I didn't have much time to speak to folks along the border towns and cities. The few I was able to talk with at truck stops, restaurants, motels and rest areas were supportive of Arizona's new law but they were worried that the law would cause illegals living in Az to overrun their own states.
If witnessing all the U-Haul, Ryder and pickup trucks pulling trailers leaving Arizona can be used as evidence to support these fears, then Americans around the US have a right to be worried. Over the past 20 years I have made a lot of trips driving to and from Arizona to Tennessee. It is not uncommon to see Americans moving from one state to another. What is uncommon is the number of vehicles I saw leaving Az heading east. If the other interstate highways running through Arizona are witnessing the same amount of traffic, then you could assume they are probably leaving before the new law goes into effect.
I have no way of knowing if all of the rental trucks were being driven by illegals or if everyone of them were people moving out of Az. What I did notice was the vast majority of rental trucks that were towing vehicles, had Arizona license plates on the vehicles being towed. This was also true for most of the pickup trucks that were towing trailers.
I did not grow up during the Great Depression but I remember watching old news stories about the great migration from the Midwest to California during this time. What I saw was nothing compared to all of the people that were fleeing the drought and the devastation it caused in the Midwest. However, it did seem eerily similar.
I did stop in El Paso and talked to some of the students that are going through the Border Patrol Canine Training Course at Fort Bliss. The good news is Homeland Security has increased the budget and reinstated a class they had previously canceled. This is good news and I support this decision.
The dogs and equipment are the best that money can buy and the training is excellent. Between the keen sense of smell inherent in this particular breed of dog and the training received by the agent, drug and weapons smugglers will find it increasingly difficult to smuggle anything in or out of the US. I only hope Homeland Security continues this program and adds more Canine Handlers to the undermanned Border Patrol.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Anonymous sources tell me 6 illegals were apprehended by the Yuma Sector Border Patrol crossing the US, Mexico border in Southern Arizona over the July 15-17, 2010 time period. The Yuma Sector Border Patrol has not committed on the story and the details are sketchy.
According to sources familiar with the apprehensions the illegals could not speak English and no one at the Border Patrol station where they were being detained could speak Chinese. After the Border Patrol agents contacted an interpreter they learned one of the women was claiming she had been raped while in Mexico. One of the men had a broken ankle. All 6 were treated by Border Patrol Paramedics then processed and transferred to immigration authorities for further medical attention and processing.
There has been no official comment from the government and no local reporting on this matter. It is unclear if the Chinese apprehended were part of a group being smuggled into the US simply looking for work or if they were being held against their will by Cartels in Mexico. No Mexican smugglers or coyotes were caught by the Border Patrol.
The fact that not one of the six could speak English leaves one wondering where they were headed and where did they expect to find work. Were they simply victims of a larger human trafficking cartel in Mexico with connections to China? Were they being held against their will for ransom? Will the public ever know about this story and how many other stories like this are happening in other areas along the Border?
Thursday, July 15, 2010
by Ronnie Spangler
Here are a few things I discovered going on along the Arizona southern border. I'm certain with everything else that is going on in our country, the general public is simply unaware of how bad it is. These are thing you will not find in the mainstream or cable news networks.
While I was in the Yuma Sector:
Wellton, Ariz. — June 27, 2010 Border Patrol agents arrested 10 suspected smugglers and seized more than a quarter million dollars of marijuana in two unrelated incidents in the Wellton, Ariz. area this week.
Border Patrol agents assigned to Camp Grip detected the illegal entry of 10 suspected smugglers about 15 miles west of Lukeville. Customs and Border Protection pilots initially spotted the group and guided agents on the ground to their location.
Agents apprehended eight suspected smugglers with two returning to Mexico to avoid arrest. Agents also seized six makeshift backpacks filled with marijuana weighing a total of 260 pounds with an estimated street value of $208,000. The contraband and illegal aliens were transported to the Wellton Border Patrol Station for processing in accordance with sector guidelines.
July 1, 2010 Border Patrol agents assigned to Camp Grip detected the illegal entry of an all-terrain vehicle west of Lukeville. Agents tracked the ATV and with the assistance of a CBP pilot and intercepted the ATV and two riders.
The ATV was loaded with bundles of marijuana weighing 165 pounds with an estimated street value of $132,000. One of the smugglers, a Mexican juvenile, was transported to the Wellton Border Patrol Station along with the ATV for processing. The other smuggler, an 18-year old Mexican citizen, and the seized marijuana were turned over to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.These 2 incidents resulted in Mexican Drug Cartels threatening to retaliate against agents assigned to Camp Grip over the July 4, 2010 holiday. The Border Patrol took the threats seriously and the agents acted accordingly. No threats were carried out over the holiday period.
Yuma, AZ July 5, 2010 Border Patrol agents assigned to the Yuma Station detected the illegal entry of five individuals near County 11th Street and the Colorado River. Agents tracked the group and arrested four men. One of the suspected smugglers returned to Mexico to avoid arrest. Border Patrol agents also seized several makeshift backpacks full of marijuana. The marijuana weighed a total of 217 pounds with an estimated street value of $173,760.
Since Oct. 1, 2009, Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents have seized more than 32,000 pounds of marijuana, estimated street value over 25 million dollars. This is only marijuana add in cocaine, heroine, meth and other illegal drugs and maybe you can understand why nobody believes Napolitano or Obama.
In the Tuscon Sector:
Douglas, Arizona — July 2, 2010 U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers were screening pedestrian traffic coming from Mexico yesterday when a young man pulled a knife from his pocket and attempted to stab a CBP officer.
Officers were screening pedestrian traffic coming from Mexico when they were approached by a young man. The officers noticed that the man kept his hands in his pant pockets and was told to show his hands. The man stepped toward the officer as he pulled his hands from his pocket and attempted to stab the officer with a knife that he had been concealing in his pocket.
The CBP officer was able to block the stabbing attempt. With the assistance of other officers the man was taken into custody. The man was identified an 18-year-old U.S. citizen and resident of Wilcox, Ariz.
From Oct. 1, 2009, to May 31, 2010, the Tucson Sector Border Patrol seized more than 712,000 pounds of marijuana exceeding $569 million in value. Tucson, Ariz. July 8, 2010 U.S. Border Patrol Canine teams seized, in less than 2 hours, drugs attempted to be smuggled through the Interstate 19 checkpoint. In the first seizure, a sedan approached the checkpoint where a Border Patrol canine team was operating in the primary inspection lane. The canine alerted to the vehicle and the driver was referred to secondary. In secondary, a cursory inspection of the trunk was performed where the canine team alerted. Agents discovered five bundles of marijuana weighing more than 125 pounds. The agents also discovered possible counterfeit currency and identification documents. The driver, passenger, vehicle and contraband were taken to the Nogales Station for processing. Less than two hours later, a canine team alerted to another vehicle in the primary inspection lane. Agents referred the truck to secondary and the canine team performed a second cursory sniff and alerted to the vehicle’s gas tank. Agents performed an interior inspection of the gas tank and discovered 36 packages of marijuana weighing more than 98 pounds. The driver, vehicle and contraband were taken to the Nogales Station for processing.
Tucson, Ariz. July 8, 2010 U.S. Border Patrol Canine teams seized, in less than 2 hours, drugs attempted to be smuggled through the Interstate 19 checkpoint.
In the first seizure, a sedan approached the checkpoint where a Border Patrol canine team was operating in the primary inspection lane. The canine alerted to the vehicle and the driver was referred to secondary.
In secondary, a cursory inspection of the trunk was performed where the canine team alerted. Agents discovered five bundles of marijuana weighing more than 125 pounds. The agents also discovered possible counterfeit currency and identification documents. The driver, passenger, vehicle and contraband were taken to the Nogales Station for processing.
Less than two hours later, a canine team alerted to another vehicle in the primary inspection lane. Agents referred the truck to secondary and the canine team performed a second cursory sniff and alerted to the vehicle’s gas tank. Agents performed an interior inspection of the gas tank and discovered 36 packages of marijuana weighing more than 98 pounds. The driver, vehicle and contraband were taken to the Nogales Station for processing.
Tucson, Ariz. July 7, 2010 Border Patrol agents assigned to the Naco Station arrested an illegal alien Wednesday who has an active warrant for murder.
While attempting to illegally enter into the United States, the man was apprehended by Naco agents, processed in the field and transported to the Naco Border Patrol Station. The subject was enrolled into the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS).
The system revealed he had arrests for assault, gang activity, criminal weapons and firearms possession in addition to the warrant. The man will be turned over to the Tucson Police Department pending extradition to New York.
In Fiscal Year 2009, the Tucson Sector apprehended more than 241,000 people, 40,000 of those apprehended had past criminal histories. From Oct. 1, 2009, to May 31, 2010, the Tucson Sector Border Patrol has apprehended more than 170,000 people attempting to illegally enter the United States.
For every drug seizure or illegal alien arrest made by CBP and Border Patrol agents, hundreds more are getting through. This is only Arizona, add in California, New Mexico and Texas then tell me "the border is as safe as it ever was." Maybe the President should visit Arizona's border or maybe it is like SB 1070, the only thing he knows is what his left wing consultants tells him.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
While in the Yuma area of southern Arizona I was able to travel to regions along the border between the Yuma and Tuscon sectors. Some of these areas are not safe for non-native Americans to venture into during the daylight hours and should always be avoided at night.
One such area is the Tohono O'odham Reservation between Ajo and Three Points. Unless you are a local, traveling alone in this area is not advised. For the most part Native Americans living on the Reservation are friendly and non threatening to visitors. However, the reservation has seen a large influx of illegal human and drug smuggling activity in the last few years. In fact there are 28 known gangs operating on this reservation making their living off both human and drug smuggling activities.
Since the passage of SB 1070 and the crack down on gangs operating within the Nation, tensions have been strained between some Native Americans and local Arizonians. The Tohono O’odham Nation and Arizona’s intertribal council have passed resolutions against S.B. 1070.
A friend living in Sells, Az traveled with me around parts of the reservation. He told me the unemployment rate for Native Americans living on the reservation is between 40 and 50 percent. He believes, because of high unemployment and the fact that the only industry on the reservation is really the Desert Diamond Casino, 3/4 of the population either knows someone connected to smuggling or they are directly involved themselves.
According to him people not connected to smuggling are worried about an increase in violence if the Reservation police continue to work with Federal Agencies like Border Patrol, ICE, FBI, or DEA on the crack down of drugs passing through the reservation. In May (before I got to Yuma) for the 1st time the Nation's Tribal Police Force led a drug raid on the reservation. Federal agents from Border Patrol, ICE, ATF, State and Local police departments assisted the Nation's Police in apprehending 8 tribal members charged with distributing cocaine.
The Tohono O'odham Reservation falls within the Tuscon Sector of the Border Patrol. Traveling down 86, Ajo Tuscon Highway, you will encounter the Border Patrol:
After 9/11 the Border Patrol was given a primary mission to watch for and intercept any would be terrorist crossing our borders. With increased smuggling across our southern borders the Border Patrol increased patrols on Reservations like Tohono O'odham. This created resentment by native residents of Tohono O'odham. According to to some tribal members I spoke to things have changed over time.
If you speak privately to individuals they will tell you they now appreciate the efforts of the Border Patrol. After seeing how their land is being destroyed more and more are turning against illegals crossing the border and are willing to anonymously help the Border Patrol. The recent extradition and conviction of a Mexican illegal that murdered a ranch hand on the Tohono O'odham Nation back in 2003 may help convince Native Americans to cooperate with Federal agents. As it stands right now they are apprehensive about the Federal Government as to whether they can really protect the people from the violence from drug cartels in Mexico. They know the Border Patrol is undermanned and they are aware of how successful the drug cartels have been in infiltrating the southern borders. They have seen how smugglers place spotters around the most highly trafficked trails and wait for the patrols to leave. When the smugglers feel it is safe they continue their operations.
The people in this area knows what everyone else knows along the border, there needs to be more boots on the ground and aerial surveillance if the smuggling along the border is ever contained. The President and Congress still have a chance to bring it under control if they will work with Arizona instead of fighting them every step of the way.
To be continued: Tuscon, Nogales, Phoenix.
Monday, July 12, 2010
by Ronnie Spangler
True to the Obama spin machine doctrine David Axelrod continued their lies and spin about Arizona and the problems caused by illegal immigration and smuggling. Axelrod told Mike Wallace the Administration had spent more and done more than any Administration to combat the problem. He failed to answer the question posed by Mr. Wallace about cutting the Border Patrol budget and the pitiful number of National Guard troops they have promised to send to the border states. Axelrod declared the numbers of apprehensions of illegals had decreased by 18% but failed to mention this was only a statistical estimate. If you consider that for every 1 illegal apprehended by Border Patrol agents as many as 10 could have escaped. As an example while I was in Arizona agents tracked a group of illegals and confiscated 13 bundles of dope. The smugglers/illegals got away. Considering each bundle weighed between 80 and 100 pounds this meant there had to be at least 13 or more illegals carrying the dope on their backs. This happens all the time and the numbers are not included in their statistics because there were no apprehensions.
Axelrod cleverly spun the the idea of increased support for the Border Patrol by the Obama Administration. Their idea of spending money to support the effort is to redirect the budget from boots on the ground and completing the border fence is to limiting the man hours agents spend in the field and use the money saved to build parking lots and upgrade facilities whether they are needed or not. One example is the much publicized attempt to spend 1 million dollars on a northern border crossing that was only open 3 days a week and seldom saw traffic crossing from Canada to the USA. After the people complained over the government's plan to use imminent domain procedures to confiscate their land, and it was picked up by some in the media, Homeland Security and Napolitano dropped the plan.
Where was the million dollars to "refurbish" the Canadian/American crossing coming from you ask. Partly from canceling much needed and already scheduled canine training for FY 2010. Another portion came from cutting agents overtime pay while in the field or while mandated to spend a week at a time in remote areas like Arizona's Camp Grip, also known as Camp Desert.
The only thing this Administration has done to combat the problem of illegal crossings is to spend money fighting Arizona in court and post an additional 11 signs like this:
Sorry David but this is not helping solve the problem. The people have caught on to the Obama slight of hand game of doing something with the right hand while doing just the opposite with the left. Obama and his team was able to con us during the campaign but we the people have finally caught on and we are refusing to be conned again.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
by Ronnie Spangler
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people from Yuma, Tuscon, Nogales, and Phoenix that took the time to talk to me and explain what is really going on. I would also like to thank my followers on Twitter that kept in touch while I traveled through Arizona.
After traveling along the southern border of Arizona and Mexico I have come to one very clear conclusion, President Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano are lying to the American people. The border is not as safe as it has ever been. Also to my surprise an overwhelming number of 2nd and 3rd generation of Americans of Mexican decent, living in Arizona, support SB 1070 and the crack down on illegal immigration.
This is not my first trip to Arizona. I have visited and traveled Az. for over 40 years. While illegal immigration has always been an issue along the southern border states, the violence facing Az and other states has gotten out of hand. When Americans feel they have to be armed just to visit the desert or mountain areas on a family camping trip,then something has gone terribly wrong in our country. The truth is Arizona is returning to the Wild Wild West made famous by Hollywood.
My first stop along the border was in the Yuma sector. For those not familiar with the area it is a beautiful region that borders California and Mexico. It has everything from agricultural to mountain and desert terrain. Like most of central and southern Az the population is very diverse with Americans descending from all parts of the country and world. It is mostly small business oriented and these are the people I spoke to about the problems they are having along the border. Due to constant threats from Mexican drug cartels and drug gangs involved in smuggling, most people will not speak publicly about illegal immigration. For this reason I would never divulge the names of people I have spoken to during my travels along the border.
After establishing a relationship of trust with some of the small business owners and their employees, I asked them if they supported the new law and the crack down on illegals in Arizona. 8 out of 10 supported the effort including Mexican/Americans. The main reason they gave for supporting the law, they are sick and tired of all of the violence associated with drug and human smuggling. While drug and smuggling crimes have decreased over the years you still hear about the occasional stash house and other drug related crimes on the local news.
The major contributing factor for the decrease in violence in the Yuma sector is the way the Border Patrol and CBP operates. Unlike other sectors Yuma operates under Operations Command meaning all drug and illegal entries across the border are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The crackdown began in 1994 under Operation Gatekeeper, while the operation names have changed over the years the main initiative for the operation has not. That is to reduce violence and illegal activities along the border in this sector. The efforts by CBP, Border Patrol and local law enforcement have paid off for residents in the Yuma sector and they appreciate and support both federal and local law enforcement agencies. However, residents in the Yuma sector are worried things will start to return to the days prior to Operation Gatekeeper if President Obama and Secretary Napolitano are successful in weakening the Border Patrol and relaxing the laws on illegal immigration.
Few people are aware of the work Border Patrol agents do in the Yuma sector. One of the areas that most Americans never hear about is an area considered no man's land near Lukeville Az. Before the crackdown this area was notorious for drug and human trafficking. The Border Patrol with agents mainly from Wellton and Yuma continually man this remote area known as Desert Grip (or Camp Grip by locals)to stop illegals attempting to smuggle drugs into the US. While I was there I saw just how effective the Border Patrol agents that man this area can be, see story here. As a result of Border Patrol's increased presence and success at catching would be smugglers the Mexican drug cartels issued a warning that they would retaliate against the Border Patrol Agents in the Camp Grip area over the 4th of July holiday. Agents were informed of the threats and responded with increased vigilance. Nothing transpired and the agents carried out their assigned duties.
Using the Border Patrol's budget Secretary Napolitano is now undermining the hard work of the agents that man this post. The terrain surrounding Camp Grip is rugged and consist of both desert and mountain ranges. Agents are required to spend 7 days at a time eating, sleeping and patrolling this vast area that covers hundreds of square miles. They do this 24/7 and now due to recent cuts in budget they do it without the benefit of being paid for overtime hours. It is beyond me how the Secretary expects an agent to just stop during the middle of a chase or apprehension because his or her shift has come to an end. The Union representing the Border Patrol agents have appealed this insane decision.
This is a short posting of what I saw in the Yuma sector. More postings will follow concerning Yuma, Tuscan, Nogales and Phoenix.