Tuesday, May 04, 2010

A border-area home invasion has forced residents to take action

Howard and Rosie Hunt might be the luckiest people in Arizona—and that's saying something for an elderly couple who lived through a home invasion on Jan. 20. Two young men from Chihuahua, Mexico, one carrying a machete, allegedly pushed their way into the Hunts' home, bound them and searched for valuables. The Hunts live right off State Highway 80, 15 miles south of the Chiricahua Mountains town of Portal, along the notorious smuggling route known as the Chiricahua Corridor. For some time, residents here have been fighting to keep themselves and their property safe from cross-border smugglers and illegal aliens, who—cut off from their groups, lost and desperate—often break into homes. Life around Portal and its sister town of Rodeo, N.M., 12 miles away across the state line, has become a grim litany of cut phone lines, roof vents removed to get inside, barking dogs at night, trucks stolen, half-eaten food in the kitchen and men peering in windows. "Thirty years ago, we had workers moving through, and they'd ask for water and a sandwich," says Nancy Cloudt, who runs Rodeo Grocery and Cafe. "Then they started demanding water and a sandwich. Then they didn't like peanut butter. Then they wanted to use your phone to call New York. "Now, if you hear something at night, you don't even go out to check. It gets worse all the time." On Friday, Jan. 22, Cloudt says, Border Patrol arrested 63 illegals near her store in one shift. Lousy weather brought them out of hiding places in the mountains and washes. They wanted to be captured and sent home. But the Hunt episode has left people here really shaken. Rosie Hunt, 74, was cooking supper at about 5 p.m. when she heard a knock at the front door. When she responded, she saw two men, one an English speaker, who asked if Rosie would drive them to town. Through his booking photo, she later identified the suspect as 21-year-old Eriberto Marquez. She said no to the request, and so did Howard, who'd joined her at the door. Marquez kept asking, and Howard kept saying no. "I says, 'It's only two miles up the road. You can walk.'" When Rosie moved to return to the kitchen, Marquez pushed her into the house. Howard turned to protect his wife and felt a sharp object poking his back. The object was an 18-inch machete held by the second suspect, identified as 19-year-old Martin Chavira-Morquecho...more

1 comment:

richard chambers said...