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AG worries about border, drug violence in Arizona
Sierra Vista Herald/Bisbee Review ^ | Bill Hess

Posted on 02/18/2009 9:40:39 PM PST by SandRat

FORT HUACHUCA — The Phoenix area has literally become the kidnapping capital of the United States, Arizona’s attorney general said Tuesday.

The fight to control illegal immigrant smuggling routes into the United States has seen a lot of one gang of coyotes trying to take another gang’s human treasure, Terry Goddard told a number of federal, state and local law enforcement officials.

Drop houses, which is where the gangs hide illegal immigrants smuggled into the country from Mexico, are a lucrative business, and that is why gangs belonging to different cartels try to kidnap people staying in those facilities, Goddard said.

“Smuggling human beings is more profitable (than drugs),” he said.

Goddard said he and Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever are concerned about the spill-over of violence coming into Arizona from Mexico.

During a discussion earlier in the day with Dever, Goddard said he that agreed violence from across the border could make its way here. When it will happen is the unknown, Goddard told the more than 30 people at the post event.

Dever said in an interview Tuesday afternoon that there have been a lot of kidnappings in Mexico involving the cartels, “and a lot of them don’t get reported.”

A couple of kidnappings close to the border have been reported by law enforcement intelligence assets, but the victims are keeping quiet, the sheriff said.

“Kidnapping has become a cottage industry,” Dever said.

While there have been threats made against the lives of some law enforcement officials on the American side, no incidents have happened, he said.

Dever said he is really concerned about a gun battle happening between Mexican gangs coming across the border as people flee, putting not only American civilian lives in jeopardy but “some hapless Border Patrol agent or (sheriff) deputy being the only one in the area when it happens.”

Goddard said tensions in Mexico are high because of the fighting between the cartels as they attempt to control corridors used to funnel humans and drugs through.

The few corridors coming into the United States are also financially lucrative to the cartels, and once the control of the avenues in Mexico are controlled by a couple of the cartels, then the paths into the U.S. become territory to fight for, Goddard said.

The smugglers are using technology and other equipment to make it easier for them to bring their illicit items into the United States, the attorney general said.

To counter the Border Patrol, smugglers use night-vision goggles and set up teams to watch the agency to find the perfect time to bring in people and drugs, Goddard said.

As for drugs, the cartels even have bridging equipment, much like the U.S. military uses, so trucks can go across streams or over fences, he said.

“They drive up to the border put the bridge across the fence, drive the trucks over and then take the bridge away,” Goddard said, adding he understands those involved in the illegal drug trade are building a couple more of the mobile bridge devices.

The state also is a major outlet for financial transactions involving illegal immigrants. Goddard said many wire transfers that come through Arizona involve those who have been brought here illegally paying off the coyotes.

The state’s top legal office has been actively going after businesses that have any involvement human and drug smuggling, he said.

“I’m the proud possessor of 13 or 14 used-car lots,” Goddard said.

He explained that those businesses worked with coyotes to buy vehicles, which are used in crimes, and then are reported stolen and given back to the used car lot owner, only to be used again.

The office also “owns” seven travel agencies, which were selling one-way airline tickets from Phoenix to Southern states and being paid more than the actual cost of such a trip, he said.

Goddard said his office is responsible for ensuring the citizens of the state have the legal protection they deserve, which means working in concert with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, as well as county attorneys.

Herald/Review senior reporter Bill Hess can be reached at 515-4615 or by e-mail at

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government; Mexico; US: Arizona
KEYWORDS: border; drug; drugwarconsequences; gangs; thankprohibition; violence

1 posted on 02/18/2009 9:40:40 PM PST by SandRat
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To: HiJinx; Borax Queen; idratherbepainting; AZHSer; Sabertooth; A Navy Vet; Lion Den Dan; ...

Border Ping

2 posted on 02/18/2009 9:41:03 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country! What else needs said?)
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To: SandRat

Can’t slip one past ole Terry. He’s real swift, y’know.

3 posted on 02/18/2009 9:42:36 PM PST by fieldmarshaldj (~"This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps !"~~)
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To: SandRat

This wouldn’t be a problem if these dickweeds would fight alongside Sheriff Arpaio instead of fighting against him.

4 posted on 02/18/2009 9:49:57 PM PST by FlingWingFlyer (Have You Punched A Democrat Today? - Do it for the children.)
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To: SandRat

Simple. Seal the border. Now. Is there even ONE dollar in Porkulus going toward border security?

5 posted on 02/18/2009 10:03:48 PM PST by TrueKnightGalahad (When you're's life. Anything that happens before or after is just waiting.)
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To: SandRat
November 4, 2003 - the "Casa Grande Massacre".

4 Found Shot To Death On a Highway

A running gun-battle between two rival groups of smugglers heading up I-10 into Phoenix during the morning rush-hour.

6 posted on 02/18/2009 10:16:40 PM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: SandRat

I lived in GB and CG for a time and I will say Casa Grande was more violent. In Gila Bend everybody is assumed to have self-defense.

7 posted on 02/18/2009 10:28:51 PM PST by eyedigress
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To: SandRat


8 posted on 02/18/2009 11:01:12 PM PST by GOP Poet
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To: SandRat

Goddard said his office is responsible for ensuring the citizens of the state have the legal protection they deserve

He was right up there opposing prop 200 with Butch and Raul.

9 posted on 02/18/2009 11:17:37 PM PST by Old Flat Toad (Pima county- Home of the single vehicle accident with 40 victims.)
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To: SandRat

Fences don’t work, ya know? That’s why there’s is one around the White House and Fort Knox.

10 posted on 02/19/2009 2:02:33 AM PST by RSmithOpt (Liberalism: Highway to Hell)
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To: SandRat
Can you hunt coyotes from a helicopter like Sarah hunts wolves?

I say pay a bounty on each one...

11 posted on 02/19/2009 4:18:18 AM PST by paulycy (BEWARE the LIBERAL/MEDIA Complex)
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To: FlingWingFlyer
A few years ago the AZ lege passed legislation to give added authority to go after the human smugglers/coyotes.

Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas made a controversial interpretation of that new law that illegals could be arrested and prosecuted because, since they were paying the coyotes, they were participating by virtue of conspiracy.

And of course, Arpaio used Thomas' interpretation to arrest the illegals for conspiring to smuggle humans.

And as many have pointed out, Sheriff Joe is catching a lot of illegals, but not many coyotes.

Picking the low-hanging fruit.

Maricopa County is operating under a set of laws that are different from the rest of the state

12 posted on 02/19/2009 6:13:06 AM PST by Ben Ficklin
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