Skip to comments.Illegal border activity jumps
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 Patrols 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 wasnt sure if the short-term local change will prove to be statistically significant, didnt 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.
Its almost like theyve come back to see if theyre able to get groups across again, Maddux said. Were 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 dont think its going to get to that because the Border Patrol has so many more personnel here, he said. I just think that for some reason, theyre starting to target this area a little bit to see if they can get groups through, and when its not effective, theyre 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.
Its seems that whenever we get that national debate on amnesty we get an influx of people coming in, Soto said. But there really hasnt 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 Arizonas 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 countys 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.
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 doesnt 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 dont 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 couldnt 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 youre 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 hadnt noticed any changes in his neighborhood.
Its gone down in the last year and its 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 Patrols) 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 its back up there again.
HERALD/REVIEW reporter Jonathan Clark can be reached at 515-4693.
Wonder why the Enviro Crowd isn't complaining?????
Oh yeah, that's right they want our borders crossed.
Throw them out...
Push them out at the point of a bayonet if necessary...
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.
This could be good or bad, depending on how you look at it.
AMNESTY NEWS= More illegals running for the border.
The spanish news channels (the balkanizers for profit) report pro amnesty anti english efforts with enthusiasm.
If you want on, or off this S. Texas/Mexico ping list, please FReepMail me.
That was my first thought.
Your tagline is right on the money. Terroristas...
Here is another one for you to think about:
Can't be so. We all know that "walls won't work."
The first few words of the title seem to be missing:
“Anticipating that an amnesty bill will soon be signed...”
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.
AMNESTY NEWS= More illegals running for the border.
Aided and abetted by a president who refuses to enforce the laws. We have been sold out.
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.
You’re about right on the percentage that gets caught.
Which means as many as 26,000 made it across undetected.
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