Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Arizona signs along I-8 warn of human, drug smuggling violence

Truckers making their way east and west through Arizona may want to avoid areas near Interstate 8. The federal government has posted signs warning of violence and criminals tied to drug and human smuggling. Dennis Godfrey, a spokesman with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, said his agency put the signs out in June in response to increased danger in a 40-mile area south of I-8 near the Sonoran Desert National Monument. That 487,000-acre desert includes about 200,000 acres south of I-8 that have seen increased drug and human smuggling activity in recent months, Godfrey told Land Line Thursday, Sept. 2. Violence in the area has surged in recent months, though it hasn’t become prevalent on the highway, Godfrey said. Instead, authorities are asking travelers to be careful and try to avoid access roads and other areas south of I-8. The massive state desert acreage and an even larger expanse of Indian reservation make up an eight-mile buffer between most of Arizona and Mexico during the 40-mile stretch, and have become key smuggling routes for violent Mexican cartels to move humans and drugs...more

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