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Illegal border activity jumps
Sierra Vista Herald, Sierra Vista Arizona ^ | JONATHAN CLARK

Posted on 04/08/2007 7:29:19 AM PDT by SandRat

BISBEE — After nearly two years of declining numbers, illegal border-crossings took a sudden jump last month in Cochise County, law enforcement officials say.

Gustavo Soto, a spokesman for the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector, said agents at the Naco, Douglas and Willcox stations apprehended just over 13,000 illegal immigrants last month, a 30 percent increase over March 2006. Prior to the spike, Border Patrol apprehensions in the county had been down 13 percent since the current fiscal year began on Oct. 1. That decline followed a 45 percent drop during the previous year.

Sgt. Taron Maddux, spokesman for the Bisbee Police Department, also noted a recent spike in local border crossings.

“From January 1 up until about three weeks ago, we had apprehended a total of maybe 100 to 150 (illegal immigrants),” Maddux said. “And then, in a two-week period, we apprehended something like 255.”

Soto, who wasn’t sure if the short-term local change will prove to be statistically significant, didn’t speculate as to its causes. He pointed out that the 3,000-person increase last month is still a relatively small number compared to the 1,500 border-crossers who are arrested on a typical night in the entire Tucson Sector.

And despite the March rise, apprehensions in Cochise County are still down 3 percent since the start of the fiscal year, he added.

Maddux thought warmer springtime temperatures were affecting local immigration flow, and he also suspected that some of the human smugglers who were pushed out of the area two or three years ago by a Border Patrol buildup are returning for another try.

“It’s almost like they’ve come back to see if they’re able to get groups across again,” Maddux said. “We’re starting to see some of the same spots popping up again where we used to get reports of load-up vehicles or a lot of foot traffic.”

Even so, Maddux doubted human smuggling would return to the levels of three or four years ago when Bisbee police were finding as many as 200 immigrants a night in the Warren neighborhood alone.

“I don’t think it’s going to get to that because the Border Patrol has so many more personnel here,” he said. “I just think that for some reason, they’re starting to target this area a little bit to see if they can get groups through, and when it’s not effective, they’re going to move and start going someplace else.”

Neither Maddux nor Soto believed that renewed talk of comprehensive immigration reform was drawing more people to the border.

“It’s seems that whenever we get that national debate on amnesty we get an influx of people coming in,” Soto said. “But there really hasn’t been too much in the media lately that would give people an indication that there is the possibility of an amnesty bill.”

Furthermore, if people were rushing to the border in hopes of amnesty, apprehensions would be up everywhere, not just in Cochise County, Soto said. In the entire Tucson Sector, which covers all of Arizona’s border areas except Yuma County and which sees 42 percent of all Border Patrol apprehensions along the southwest border, arrests were down 14 percent through March.

Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever attributed the recent surge to warmer weather, a full moon and a shift of local Border Patrol agents to the west desert.

According to statistics from the Tucson Sector headquarters, there were 909 agents posted to the county’s three Border Patrol stations on Oct. 1 as compared to 870 agents on March 1. The agency also “details out” personnel from slower areas to busier stations when needed.

New trends

Maddux said Bisbee police have noted a new phenomenon in local human smuggling activity: the use of rental cars.

In the past, he said, smugglers on the U.S. side of the border generally relied on their own vehicles. But as more and more carloads were busted, smugglers had to deal with the inconvenience and cost of retrieving their vehicles from impound lots.

And when a smuggler had five or six vehicles in his name sitting in Bisbee police lots, Maddux said, he knew that law enforcement was on to him.

Police are now finding that smugglers are renting cars in Tucson and Phoenix and letting the rental car companies deal with the hassle of recovering impounded vehicles.

“If the vehicle doesn’t get caught, and they can run five or six loads in it, they can make $10,000 to $15,000 after paying just $200 or $300 to rent it,” Maddux said.

Dodge and Jeep vehicles seem to be especially popular with human smugglers, Maddux said, possibly because their strong suspensions don’t show a noticeable sag when overloaded.

In one example, Bisbee police stopped a Chrysler Pacifica and were surprised to find 18 people inside a vehicle meant to seat six.

“You couldn’t even tell that the vehicle was overloaded because it held the load so well,” Maddux said. “If you can rent a vehicle that can hold 18 as opposed to a vehicle that can only hold four, of course you’re going to make more money.”

Dever said he had noticed more people bypassing smugglers and crossing the border on their own.

“This, coupled with local law enforcement participation in Operation Stone Garden (a cooperative interdiction initiative with the Border Patrol), is probably contributing to the increased number of pursuits,” he said, referring to a recent flurry of high-speed car chases in the area.

For the Border Patrol, the most significant trend has been a sharp rise in marijuana busts. Agents in the Tucson Sector have confiscated more than 500,000 pounds of pot during the past six months, Soto said, which represents a 38 percent increase over the same period last year.

In Cochise County, marijuana busts are up 18 percent to 33,000 pounds.

Soto said a combination of more agents, better infrastructure and improved technology have enabled the agency to close in on drug smugglers.

“The smugglers are simply running out of places to go,” he said.

Border residents react

Despite the reported rise in local border crossings, Charles Behney, a resident of Naco, Ariz., said he hadn’t noticed any changes in his neighborhood.

“It’s gone down in the last year and it’s more or less stayed down,” Behney said of the border-crossings. “I live right on the west edge (of town) and we used to have daily incidents right here. But if anything, as the border wall has improved, the crossings have been pushed way out toward the valley.”

A few miles in that direction, at the San Pedro River Inn in Hereford, owner Walter Kolbe said that while he and his wife May had not seen many new border-crossers, they had noticed secondary signs that indicate an increased immigration flow.

Guests at the inn have reported larger amounts of trash left along the river by illegal immigrants, and the Kolbes have noticed more Border Patrol vehicles engaged in stops in their area.

“But what is most evident is that the (Border Patrol’s) helicopters have been very active out here of late,” Walter Kolbe said. “Most all of last year, it seemed like the use of the helicopter had dropped dramatically. But now it’s back up there again.”

HERALD/REVIEW reporter Jonathan Clark can be reached at 515-4693.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Foreign Affairs; Mexico; US: Arizona
KEYWORDS: aliens; arizona; border; builditnow; environment; fence; illegalaliens; invasionusa; patrol; smugglers; tucsonsector; wall

1 posted on 04/08/2007 7:29:21 AM PDT by SandRat
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To: HiJinx; Spiff; Borax Queen; idratherbepainting; AZHSer; Sabertooth; A Navy Vet; Lion Den Dan; ...
...have reported larger amounts of trash left along the river by illegal immigrants,..

Wonder why the Enviro Crowd isn't complaining?????

Oh yeah, that's right they want our borders crossed.

2 posted on 04/08/2007 7:31:27 AM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SandRat

Throw them out...

Push them out at the point of a bayonet if necessary...


3 posted on 04/08/2007 7:31:41 AM PDT by Sir Francis Dashwood (LET'S ROLL!)
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To: SandRat
Dodge and Jeep vehicles seem to be especially popular with human smugglers, Maddux said, possibly because their strong suspensions don’t show a noticeable sag when overloaded.

Good plug for Dodge and Jeep there. Maybe they'll start marketing human smuggleers saying "Hold 18 or more guest workers without a sag!" in their ads.

4 posted on 04/08/2007 7:35:53 AM PDT by AuntB (" It takes more than walking across the border to be an American." Duncan Hunter)
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To: SandRat

This could be good or bad, depending on how you look at it.


5 posted on 04/08/2007 7:39:58 AM PDT by CindyDawg (He Lives!)
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To: SandRat

AMNESTY NEWS= More illegals running for the border.

The spanish news channels (the balkanizers for profit) report pro amnesty anti english efforts with enthusiasm.


6 posted on 04/08/2007 7:42:11 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: SandRat; doc1019; speekinout; 3AngelaD; SaxxonWoods; prairiebreeze; Dr. Marten; mickie; digerati; ..

Border Ping!

If you want on, or off this S. Texas/Mexico ping list, please FReepMail me.


7 posted on 04/08/2007 7:54:13 AM PDT by SwinneySwitch (Terroristas-beyond your expectations!)
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To: longtermmemmory
AMNESTY NEWS= More illegals running for the border.

That was my first thought.

8 posted on 04/08/2007 7:57:04 AM PDT by RegulatorCountry
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To: SwinneySwitch
In the illegal invaders protests last year they were carrying signs glorifying Osama Bin Laden...

Your tagline is right on the money. Terroristas...

Here is another one for you to think about:

<

9 posted on 04/08/2007 8:01:16 AM PDT by Sir Francis Dashwood (LET'S ROLL!)
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To: SandRat
"But if anything, as the border wall has improved, the crossings have been pushed way out toward the valley."

Can't be so. We all know that "walls won't work."

10 posted on 04/08/2007 8:13:15 AM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: SandRat
Apprehended over 13,000?!?!?! Holy borders, batman, why do the idiots in DC not see this as a problem? How many of those would have committed criminal acts once here? How many potential drunk drivers and fatal DUIs? How many lost dollars in tax revenue or jobs Americans would lose to the cheaper illegals??? How many carry communicable diseases such as TB? God forbid there were any would be terrorists in the many, many who crossed and didn't get caught? This is madness.
11 posted on 04/08/2007 8:14:06 AM PDT by GBA (God Bless America!)
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To: SandRat

The first few words of the title seem to be missing:

“Anticipating that an amnesty bill will soon be signed...”


12 posted on 04/08/2007 8:15:30 AM PDT by Old_Mil (Duncan Hunter in 2008! A Veteran, A Patriot, A Reagan Republican... http://www.gohunter08.com/)
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To: Old_Mil

“Anticipating that an amnesty bill will soon be signed...”

There were 15,000 in LA protesting the new fine the President is suggesting. ($10,000 vs $3500 in the House bill) Just can’t please criminals anymore.


13 posted on 04/08/2007 8:25:14 AM PDT by wolfcreek (Semi-Conservatism Won't Cut It)
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To: SandRat
And what percentage don’t get caught? I’d suspect only about 10 percent or less are apprehendid.
14 posted on 04/08/2007 8:27:37 AM PDT by ca centered
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To: RegulatorCountry

AMNESTY NEWS= More illegals running for the border.


Well this is EXACTLY what happened before when El Jefe Presidente Bush mentioned an amnesty — and subsequently Bush sent out the famous memo to the INS and Border Patrol TO KEEP THEIR MOUTHS SHUT about the increased crossing data.

Bastard.


15 posted on 04/08/2007 8:30:20 AM PDT by EagleUSA
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To: GBA
This is madness.

Aided and abetted by a president who refuses to enforce the laws. We have been sold out.

16 posted on 04/08/2007 8:34:44 AM PDT by janetgreen
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To: GBA

Yeah, I kinda blicked at the “13000 in this sector” in one month.

An Army Division is about 25000. So are we being invaded with an Army of illegals or what?

I fear for my grandchildren - what will we have left for them? Not much is my guess.


17 posted on 04/08/2007 9:57:02 AM PDT by ASOC (Yeah, well, maybe - but can you *prove* it?)
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To: ca centered

You’re about right on the percentage that gets caught.


18 posted on 04/08/2007 10:51:25 AM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: 1_Inch_Group; 2sheep; 2Trievers; 3AngelaD; 3pools; 3rdcanyon; 4Freedom; 4ourprogeny; 7.62 x 51mm; ..

Ping!


19 posted on 04/08/2007 6:04:01 PM PDT by HiJinx (Ask me about Troop Support...)
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To: GBA
Apprehended over 13,000?!?!?!

Which means as many as 26,000 made it across undetected.

20 posted on 04/08/2007 6:07:49 PM PDT by HiJinx (Ask me about Troop Support...)
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To: SandRat

Amnesty’s coming, like it or not. And then we’ll hold our noses and keeping voting these bozos in.


21 posted on 04/08/2007 6:10:31 PM PDT by Wolfie
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To: janetgreen
Aided and abetted by a president who refuses to enforce the laws. We have been sold out.

Yea, vote Democrat in '08 and promote a guarantee of no sale./s

22 posted on 04/08/2007 6:18:50 PM PDT by EGPWS (Trust in God, question everyone else)
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To: SandRat
I wonder if a few thousand of these along the border would help?


23 posted on 04/08/2007 6:20:20 PM PDT by FreeAtlanta (Search for Folding Project - Join FR Team 36120)
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To: Wolfie

Perhaps Mexico will soon be empty and we can move there and take over.....
susie


24 posted on 04/08/2007 6:26:15 PM PDT by brytlea (amnesty--an act of clemency by an authority by which pardon is granted esp. to a group of individual)
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To: HiJinx

Bttt!


25 posted on 04/08/2007 6:42:20 PM PDT by TheLion (How about "Comprehensive Immigration Enforcement," for a change)
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