Note: some problems here, last we checked, being here illegally
still a crime. Yes, like all agencies, they pick the low hanging
fruit. The bigger problem is the "real" criminals, if they deport
them before serving a sentence, they come right back, sometimes in
hours. As we have seen, even after finishing a prison sentence, they
still come back.
At least prison will keep them off our streets for a while.
Department of Homeland Security to evaluate criminal deporting program
Critics: System failing to target worst felons
by Daniel González - May. 20, 2011 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
The Department of Homeland Security will conduct an internal review
of a controversial federal immigration-enforcement program that has
led to the deportation of thousands of immigrants in Arizona to
determine whether the program has strayed from its primary goal of
removing dangerous criminals.
DHS inspectors also plan to look into a burgeoning controversy over
whether Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials falsely
misrepresented the Secure Communities program as voluntary to
persuade counties and states across the country to participate.
ICE processes deportees
All 15 counties in Arizona participate in the program that lets
federal immigration-enforcement officials quickly screen all people
booked into local jails. Arizona is one of 11 states fully
participating in the program.
The review comes amid growing opposition to the program. Earlier this
month, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said he would terminate his state's
participation, setting the stage for more communities to follow. In
December, the state of Washington announced it would not participate,
and lawmakers in California and Massachusetts have raised objections
about the program under pressure from immigrant-advocacy groups that
say the program is tearing apart families and disrupting communities
by deporting more non-criminals and low-level offenders than
Critics hope the review will lead to a revamping of the program that
narrows its focus.
"It's like feigning that they are going after hard criminals but in
reality they are going after moms and pops and anyone who falls into
their dragnet," said Salvador Reza of Puente, an immigrant-advocacy
group in Phoenix.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus this month also asked the Obama
administration to immediately freeze the program, citing "striking
dissonance" between its stated purpose of removing dangerous
criminals and its actual affect.
Launched in October 2008 by ICE, the program has turned into one of
the main immigration-enforcement tools in the nation. It has resulted
in the deportation of more than 101,000 immigrants nationwide,
including more than 15,000 in Arizona, most of whom were caught after
being booked into the Maricopa County jail by local police agencies,
according to federal data.
Under the program, every person booked into local jails on criminal
charges is screened by ICE officials by automatically running his or
her fingerprints through DHS computer databases. At least 1,298
counties in 42 states are already participating in the program. ICE
wants to expand the program to every county in the nation by 2013.
Immigration-enforcement advocates and many law-enforcement officials
have praised the program for helping to remove dangerous criminals
from the country. With the program, ICE has identified and deported
more than 28,000 immigrants convicted of severe crimes such as
murder, rape and the sexual abuse of children.
But the program has drawn fire from immigrant advocates and public
officials who say it is leading to the deportation of far more people
convicted of low-level crimes or no crimes at all. They say it
undermines public safety by making immigrants afraid to report crimes
or cooperate in criminal investigations.
An Arizona Republic analysis in March of federal data through
December 2010 found that 66 percent of immigrants caught in Maricopa
County and deported through the program were either low-level
criminals or immigrants with no criminal record. Nationwide, 60
percent of those deported through the program had been convicted of
either low-level crimes or none at all, the analysis showed.
In a letter released Wednesday by U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.,
DHS acting Inspector General Charles Edwards said his office intends
to review the program early in the next fiscal year, which begins
Oct. 1. Lofgren is a major critic of the program.
"The objective of the review will be to determine the extent to which
ICE uses the program to identify and remove dangerous criminal aliens
from the United States," Edwards said.
DHS inspectors also will examine the program's costs, whether it is
used equitably in different communities and the accuracy of ICE's
data collection, he said. Edwards said inspectors also will look into
a controversy regarding whether communities are required to
participate and whether they can "opt out" of the program.
On Thursday, Nicole Navas, a DHS spokeswoman, said the program is a
"critical" component of the department's new focus on illegal
immigrants who have also broken laws.
She said the program's priority is deporting criminals and since its
inception, the number of convicted criminals deported has increased
while the number of non-criminals removed has dropped.Still, she said
the DHS is conducting a "top to bottom" review to see if the program
is being misused in any jurisdictions and to address concerns to make
sure it focuses on immigrants who have broken criminal laws in
addition to being in the country illegally, which is a civil, not a
She also said Secure Communities "is not voluntary and never has been."
In March, DHS Assistant Secretary John Morton fired a contractor
responsible for facilitating agreements between ICE and states and
counties. Morton told Lofgren in an April letter that the contractor
had authored several "unacceptable e-mails," presumably suggesting
that the program was voluntary and that communities could opt out of
The contractor, Dan Cadman, later wrote to Lofgren, claiming that ICE
officials had instructed him against his wishes to tell communities
they could opt out of the program in order to get them to participate.
Bridget Kessler, an immigrant-advocacy lawyer at Yeshiva University
in New York, welcomed the DHS review but said the program should be
put on hold. She sued the DHS on behalf of immigrant-rights groups to
force ICE to release data on the program.
"The best course now would be to put the brakes on the program and
wait to see what this investigation shows in terms of both the
administration of the program but also its impacts," Kessler said.
Note: A bad smell continues to come from this one. The rip crews,
traffickers, et al, don't usually hold down good, full time jobs.
Attorney: SWAT raid found guns, body armor
By Fernanda Echavarri Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Friday, May 20,
2011 12:00 am | Comments
David Sanders, Jill Torrance/Arizona Daily Star
Attorney representing the officers Michael Storie, right, and
Christopher Scileppi, who is representing the Guerena family
The man shot and killed by Pima County SWAT officers was linked to a
home-invasion crew, the attorney representing the officers said
Attorney Michael Storie said authorities found rifles, handguns, body
armor and a portion of a law-enforcement uniform inside the house
where Jose Guerena was shot by officers serving a search warrant May 5.
"Everything they think they're going to find in there they find,"
Storie said in a news conference called a day after the Sheriff's
Department complained that media reports on the incident spread
misinformation and encouraged speculation about events surrounding
the shooting. The Sheriff's Department said Wednesday that it would
provide no details about the case to the public until the
investigation is complete.
The search warrant and court documents showing what deputies were
looking for and seized from Guerena's home have been sealed by a
judge and are unavailable to the public.
Christopher Scileppi, who is representing the Guerena family, said
nothing seized from Guerena's home was illegal and that Storie's
statements were unsupported by facts and meant to discredit Guerena's
character. Scileppi did not comment on the details of the case.
On Thursday afternoon, the Sheriff's Department declined to comment
on what the attorneys said.
All statements made by Storie on Thursday morning came from the five
SWAT officers he is representing, he said.
The five officers had "no choice but to shoot" when they breached the
front door of the house in the 7100 block of South Redwater Drive and
saw Guerena holding a rifle, Storie said. The home is on the
southwest side, near South Wade and West Los Reales roads.
The house was targeted as part of an investigation into home
invasions and drug rip-offs. The Guerena house was among homes that
"were identified as locations where these activities were being
carried out from."
No arrests have been made from any of the other homes where SWAT
served search warrants, Storie said.
According to the SWAT members' statements, all law enforcement
vehicles approaching Guerena's home had lights and sirens on and
parked in the driveway, Storie said.
Guerena's wife, Vanessa, who was inside the house with their 4-year-
old son, has said she did not see or hear lights and sirens and that
Guerena thought they were being targeted for a home invasion, which
is why her husband grabbed his AR-15 rifle and told her and their son
to hide in a closet.
The raid took place about 9:30 a.m., and Guerena, 26, was asleep
after working the graveyard shift at Asarco Mission Mine, Guerena's
Storie said that once the SWAT team parked outside the home, the
lights and sirens were turned off. An officer banged on the door for
about 45 seconds while identifying the team as police, he said.
After that, five SWAT members broke in the front door and saw Guerena
holding a rifle at the end of a long hallway.
One officer began shooting after Guerena placed the rifle in front of
him and said: "I've got something for you; I've got something for you
guys," Storie said.
The other officers at the front door of the house also fired,
All five SWAT members were shooting from just outside the home and
never entered the house, Storie said.
After Guerena's wife and son came out of the house, officers sent in
a robot, and that's when they saw Guerena had been shot and was
When asked why SWAT members did not rush in to render medical aid to
Guerena, Storie said officers on scene "have to assume that there are
other people with guns and that there are other people with body
armor inside the residence."
He said officers could not conclude Guerena was incapacitated because
he fell into a room after he was shot and officers could not see him
from the doorway.
Based on a photograph of a large bloodstain inside the home, Scileppi
said, Guerena fell down in clear view of the front door and officers
could see him.
The SWAT officers fired 71 shots, striking Guerena 60 times.
The search warrant was not directed at any particular person, and
Guerena's name was not mentioned, but it was targeting whoever might
be inside the residence, Storie said.
If SWAT members had been let into the home, those inside
"probably ... wouldn't have been arrested," Storie said.
While the SWAT team was at Guerena's home, another SWAT team was
serving a search warrant in a nearby home as part of the same
investigation, and Storie said a man showed up during the search and
said, "You shot my relative."
Storie believes somebody called from inside Guerena's home and
alerted family members to the shooting.
Scileppi said he would not comment on those allegations until he "has
all the facts."
A portrait of Jesus Malverde, believed to be a "narco saint," was
found under Guerena's bed, Storie said. He did not know if drugs were
found in the home. Guerena's wife denies having them in her home.
According to Storie, several days before the shooting undercover
officers in an unmarked car drove by Guerena's home to do
surveillance, and 10 minutes after they drove by, they were alerted
that their license plate had been run through the Motor Vehicle
Division by someone they say followed the unmarked vehicle from
Guerena's home. That was considered countersurveillance on law
enforcement, Storie said.
Under the Federal Privacy Act, the MVD in Arizona cannot release
information on a license plate to anyone other than to law enforcement.
Scileppi said it took two weeks for "the fourth version of the story"
and these details to emerge because "they needed to put a story out
that is going to protect them."
"Bottom line is they've had two weeks to construct a story, circle
the wagons," Scileppi said.
Scileppi asked Storie and the Sheriff's Department to release more
information about the incident. "The family wants to know the truth,"
Scileppi has partnered with Patrick Broom for this case. The five
officers Storie is representing are from the Sahuarita, Marana and
Oro Valley police departments, and two from the Sheriff's Department.
The sheriff's SWAT team is made up of officers from different agencies.
Contact reporter Fernanda Echavarri at email@example.com or
May 19, 2011 5:22 PM
DEA accidentally finds guns from ATF "gunwalker"
Posted by Sharyl Attkisson
CBS News has learned that the DEA has confiscated a stash of assault
rifles connected to ATF's Fast and Furious operation. It's a major
seizure of weapons in the controversial ATF case that's the subject
of at least two investigations. Sources say it's believed the
suspects intended to take the guns to Mexico.
Sources say DEA accidentally came upon the guns while stopping
suspects in an unrelated case in the Phoenix area on April 13th. When
agents stopped at least two suspects, they found two giant garbage
cans full of dozens of AK-47 type weapons wrapped in cellophane.
Sources tell CBS News that a trace on the first weapon showed it was
purchased in Nov. 2009 by a suspect in ATF's Fast and Furious case.
Gunrunning scandal uncovered at the ATF
Insiders allege that ATF allowed more than 2,500 weapons purchased by
suspects to "walk," or hit the streets. The current seizure
underscores the fact that most of those weapons are still on the
street and unaccounted for.
At least two suspects were arrested in the April 13 DEA gun bust.
Since then, sources say ATF and DEA have been in a tug of war over
who should hold the weapons. The DEA is said to want to keep the
weapons (and its own case) separate from ATF controversy. Today, the
Dept. of Justice, which oversees DEA and ATF, provided no immediate
comment or information.
Major ATF shakeup after "gunwalker"
Court documents indicate ATF Fast and Furious suspects purchased at
least 52 AK-47's in November of 2009 (see chart below), and bought
hundreds more weapons between Sept. 2009 and Dec. 2010. It's unknown
how many times the weapons have changed hands between the time they
were purchased, and last month's DEA seizure.
Sources indicate the owner of the Lone Wolf Trading Company and other
gun shops were cooperating with ATF by repeatedly selling weapons to
suspects. Some ATF agents and gun shop owners involved objected to
the controversial strategy; worried that the "walked" guns would be
used to kill innocent people. Supporters hoped it would eventually
help ATF gain intelligence to take down a Mexican cartel.
ATF quickly rounded up Fast and Furious suspects after two guns they
allegedly let "walk" showed up at the murder scene of Border Patrol
Agent Brian Terry last December.
Alleged Nov. 2009 purchases by suspects from the Lone Wolf Trading
Company in ATF Fast and Furious case (source: U.S. District Court of
Arizona Indictment Jan. 19, 2011)
Nov. 3: Suspect Joshua David Moore purchased 2 AK-47 type rifles
Nov. 10: Suspect Moore purchased 5 AK-47 type rifles
Nov. 12: Suspect Moore purchased 3 AK-47 type rifles and suspect
Alfredo Celis purchased 10 AK-47 type rifles
Nov. 17: Jose Angel Polanco purchased 1 AK-47 type rifle and other
Nov. 24: Suspect Jaime Avila purchased firearms and Suspect Uriel
Patino purchased 5 AK-47 type rifles
Nov. 25: Suspect Dejan Hercegovac acquired 26 AK-47 type rifles, and
delivered them to suspect Manueal Fabian Celis-Acosta, and an auto
shop in Phoenix
ATTORNEY GENERAL HORNE ANNOUNCES MAJOR CRIMINAL ACTION AGAINST CARTEL
TUCSON (Thursday, May 19, 2011) -- Arizona Attorney General Tom
Horne today announced the arrests of 21 of 46 suspected members of
the Jesus Valencia Rodriguez drug trafficking organization, who work
on behalf of the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel, on charges of Illegally
Conducting an Enterprise, Conspiracy, Transportation of Marijuana for
Sale; Money Laundering; Participating in a Criminal Syndicate;
Smuggling of Human Beings; and Use of a Wire Communication or
Electronic Communication in a Drug Related Transaction or to
Facilitate the Violation of any Felony Provision. The remaining
defendants are not being identified at this time because grand jury
secrecy requires their names be withheld until they have been served.
"This operation has effectively dismantled the Arizona-based
transportation and distribution cells of the Jesus Valencia Rodriguez
organization," Horne said. "These suspects used remote areas of the
Tohono O'Odham Nation in Arizona to funnel drugs and humans into the
United States, and to re-direct racketeering proceeds and weapons
back into Mexico. This criminal enterprise was a well-organized
operation that constantly worked against law enforcement interdiction
efforts with sophisticated counter-surveillance methods, including
using human spotters embedded on U.S. soil, night vision equipment
and radio communication. All of these activities are an outrageous
affront to public safety and to the sovereignty not only of the
United States, but the Tohono O'Odham Nation as well. Because of the
dedicated work of numerous law enforcement professionals, these
suspects are now behind bars."
Since 2008, Jesus Valencia Rodriguez has been identified as the
Mexico-based gate keeper working for the Caborca-based Paez-Soto cell
of the Sinaloa Cartel. Valencia-Rodriguez is responsible for
coordinating importation of multi-ton quantities of marijuana and
illegal aliens from Mexico into the United States through the San
Miguel Gate area and the smuggling of bulk drug proceeds and assault
weapons back into Mexico. The San Miguel Gate area is a remote U.S./
Mexico border location on the Tohono O'Odham Indian Reservation which
allows tribal members to pass freely between the United States and
Mexico. Law enforcement intelligence has linked over 150 drug
seizures since May 2008 totaling approximately 28,000 pounds of
marijuana to the Valencia-Rodriguez DTO. In February, 2010, law
enforcement officials also seized 41 assault weapons in the San
Miguel vicinity which were en-route from Phoenix, Arizona to Valencia-
Rodriguez in Mexico. The Valencia-Rodriguez organization uses
compartments in vehicles, ramped vehicle loads, concealed tire loads,
and backpackers to facilitate drug transportation operations in the
remote desert area.
"DEA and our partners are committed to hitting traffickers who
violate America's borders with coordinated, focused investigations
and operations like the one we have announced today," said DEA Acting
Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman. "In Arizona and all across our
nation's Southwest Border, DEA is determined to find them, shut down
their operations, and bring them to justice."
Ned Norris Jr., Chairman of the Tohono O'Odham Nation, said, "The
dismantling of this dangerous drug network is an excellent example of
the strong cooperative relationship that has been developed between
the Nation and federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. We
will not tolerate the transport of illegal narcotics into the United
States through the Tohono O'Odham Nation. We are committed to
protecting our tribal members and the security of the United States
and the Nation will continue to work in collaboration with other law
enforcement agencies to ensure this type of illegal activity is
Agencies working in cooperation include the Drug Enforcement
Administration, U.S. Border Patrol, Tohono O'Odham Nation Police
Department, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, U.S. Dept.
of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of
Indian Affairs, South Tucson Police Department, and Arizona IMPACT,
which is coordinated through the Arizona Department of Public
Safety. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General
Kim Ortiz. These charges are merely allegations and the defendants
are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
Indictment charges include:
ILLEGALLY CONDUCTING AN ENTERPRISE; in violation of A.R.S. § 13-2312;
CONSPIRACY; in violation of A.R.S. § 13-1003;
TRANSPORT FOR SALE, IMPORT INTO THIS STATE OR OFFER TO TRANSPORT FOR
SALE OR IMPORT INTO THIS STATE, SELL, TRANSFER OR OFFER TO SELL OR
TRANSFER MARIJUANA IN AN AMOUNT OVER THE STATUTORY THRESHOLD, in
violation of A.R.S. § 13-3405;
MONEY LAUNDERING, in violation of A.R.S. § 13-2317;
SMUGGLING OF HUMAN BEINGS, in violation of A.R.S. § 13-2319;
PARTICIPATING IN OR ASSISTING A CRIMINAL SYNDICATE, in violation of
A.R.S. § 13-2308;
POSSESSION OF A MARIJUANA FOR SALE IN AN AMOUNT OVER THE STATUTORY
THRESHOLD, in violation of A.R.S. § 13-3405;
USE OF A WIRE COMMUNICATION OR ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION IN A DRUG
RELATED TRANSACTION, in violation of A.R.S. § 13-3417;
USE OF A WIRE COMMUNICATION OR ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION TO FACILITATE
THE VIOLATION OF ANY FELONY PROVISION, in violation of A.R.S. § 13-3417.