Monday, February 11, 2019

Drug Smuggling, Theft, Violence: Uneasy Ranchers Worry about Rising Crime on the Arizona-Mexico Border

...Warner Glenn's family first settled here along the Arizona-Mexico border in 1896. At 83 years old, Glenn works the ranch each day and is well known throughout the area. He says illegal immigrants have always been a part of the landscape. "We moved down here in '62." He told CBN News. "And at that time, there would be two or three illegals coming through looking for work and all the ranchers worked them. They were wonderful for hard labor type work and good cowboys if you needed a cowboy." "But I tell you nowadays," He continued, "The few that are coming through are pretty hard-core, and especially the drug guys." And now residents on the border are seeing an overall rise in crime. Glenn said, "When they come back if they go by a residence and there's nobody there, they are going to go in and look around. And firearms, top of the list, any kind of jewelry, top of the list, cash, top of the list…" Another cowboy, Billy Grossman agreed. "We don't lock the doors because they'd just break the window anyway." Grossman lives in the same area, and illegal crossers have entered his home a number of times. He recently caught a smuggler trying to steal his truck. "I brought him back to the house," Grossman recounted. "And then my wife called the sheriff, and the sheriff and border patrol come up and got him and then we went back to my pickup and there was a bale of marijuana in the back of my pickup and he had stolen a lot of stuff from the house."...Matt Thomas is a deputy in Pinal County, just north of the Tohonoo'odham reservation. He describes the reservation saying, "It's all open desert, and there are small villages throughout the reservation, but no major towns, no major cities. Very minimal population, very minimal law enforcement, so they don't have a lot of interference to deal with from Mexico until they hit our county. There's a huge area that the cartels use to cross into the US where they go undetected. And as they cross into that area then they start to funnel because of terrain towards our county." This makes catching smugglers more and more challenging. And this corridor has become known for violence, too. Last year a border agent was shot by smugglers as he patrolled alone in the vast desert west of Nogales. "They've gotten more advanced and there are more numbers," Thomas explains. "They set up their own networks now and they pretty much control the terrain and those networks. They have good control of them visually which means that if we go in by air or by land they know that and so they can adjust they can shut down operations and they can maneuver around us." Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels oversees a border county covering more land than Connecticut. He says when the government fails to take a strong stand on immigration, it only makes things worse. "Those that want to come into this country and harm us – terrorists – have the infrastructure to get through here in Cochise County," he explains. "Anytime this administration talks about amnesty or anything that has to do with the border we have an influx of people coming across. We sit back all the time and just wonder, why they won't do something to fix this problem.'"...M0RE

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