Monday, December 27, 2010

GAO: Armed Smugglers and Marijuana Growers Threaten the Safety of Americans on Federal Lands

The safety of the public and of government employees on public lands is endangered by armed individuals involved in illegal border activity and marijuana cultivation, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office. The report, released on Dec. 17, states, “Law enforcement officials told us that some remote federal lands along the U.S. border are often used to smuggle drugs or humans into the country. According to these officials, such illegal activities can damage sensitive wildlife habitat and threaten public safety.” The report continued, “Officials at the three [federal land] units we visited in Arizona – Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, Coronado National Forest, and Sonoran Desert National Monument – observed that smugglers are often armed and pose a risk to public and employee safety. The officials said that, while few violent encounters between smugglers and the public have occurred to date, many illegal immigrants or smugglers have been murdered or raped on federal lands.”...more

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