Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sheriff Dever blames Mexican Smugglers for fires

Two Arizona wildfires that have scorched a quarter-million acres combined and destroyed dozens of homes just north of the U.S.-Mexico border were probably started by Mexican smugglers, the Cochise County sheriff said on Tuesday. The remarks by Sheriff Larry Dever are likely to add to the furor sparked by Arizona Senator John McCain when he suggested that illegal immigrants were to blame for some of the massive wildfires raging out of control in the state. Cochise Sheriff Dever told reporters the Monument Fire was "man-caused" and started in an area near the border fence that is closed to visitors and known to law enforcement for "high-intensity, drug- and human-trafficking." "It wasn't the rabbits or the rattle snakes that started this fire, it was human beings, and the only human beings believed to be occupying (the area) were smugglers," he said during a news conference. Dever said traffickers intentionally light fires to use as signals, to keep themselves warm and as diversions "to keep ... law enforcement off their backs." He added that the Horseshoe 2 Fire was likely sparked in the same way...more

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