Tuesday, October 26, 2010

2 agencies crack down on smugglers

For the past seven weeks, U.S. Border Patrol agents and Bureau of Land Management rangers quietly carried out an anti-smuggling campaign in two national monuments that had become infested with drug runners and illegal immigrants. In an interview Monday, directors of the two agencies said they've added manpower, erected barriers and torn down smuggler-lookout posts in an effort to secure the notorious Vekol Valley near Casa Grande. im Kenna, Arizona director for the BLM, and Victor Manjarrez Jr., chief of the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector, said the two agencies established unprecedented cooperation in an effort to combat border-related crime in the Sonoran Desert National Monument south of Interstate 8 and the Ironwood Forest National Monument west of Tucson. They said the campaign, including saturation patrols and nighttime operations, was prompted by a series of violent events near Casa Grande during the past year. In one incident, a deputy was wounded in a shootout with smugglers; in another, two Mexican nationals were killed by suspected bandits...more

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