Former Border Patrol agent speaks of dangers along boundary
Sun, 11/20/2011 - 20:25
Former Border Patrol agent Zack Taylor speaks at the Cochise County
Complex. (Melissa Marshall • Herald/Review)
BY BILL HESS
SIERRA VISTA — While many federal officials claim the American
border with Mexico is safe, a retired U.S. Border Patrol Supervisory
Agent vehemently disagrees.
"It's more dangerous than I've every seen it during my 26 years in
the Border Patrol," Zach Taylor said Sunday afternoon.
Speaking to more than 40 people at the Cochise County Building in
Sierra Vista at an event arranged by the Cochise County Republican
Committee, Taylor said the Border Patrol, which is now under the
Department of Homeland Security and not under the Department of
Justice as it was prior to 9/11, has become more of a political tool
for those who do not seem to be willing to address border issues as a
law enforcement matter, he said.
One of the founders of the National Association of Former Border
Patrol Officers, he said agents of the former organization he served
are being denied the right to do their jobs in as federal law
This is particularly true when access to portions of federal land
along the border is denied to agents not only trying apprehend
illegal immigrants who are seeking jobs in the U.S., but more
importantly the growing criminal elements involved in a number of
smuggling activities, Taylor said.
During his career he worked in the field, supervising "from a truck,"
actions involving the agency's Nogales Border Patrol Station.
He still lives in Santa Cruz County and his talk was mainly about
that specific area as a major pathway for hardened criminals
supporting different drug cartels.
What people in the U.S. have to be wary of is the Mexican criminal
activity from Mexico, which is growing in America, Taylor said.
In 1952, a congressional act granted the Border Patrol
unlimited access to private and state lands from the border up to 100
miles into the U.S., he said.
But now agents are denied law enforcement rights on federal land in
the same area and, as many in Arizona know, many large areas of
federal land abut the border and continue into the state for many
miles, Taylor said.
The Mexican criminal gangs know the constraints facing the agents and
that is why many of the federal land areas along the border have
become access points for illegal activities, he said.
For Americans to think that Mexican gangs are only a problem on the
border would be a mistake, the retired agent said.
In the United States, "2,500 cities have Mexican gangs," he said.
Those gangs support different cartels and gangs in Mexico, meaning
blood shed is not just limited along the border but also within the
heartland of America, Taylor said.
Although the State Department has no direct oversight of the Border
Patrol, it has interfered with the agency and other federal agencies
in providing the correct information to the American public, so as
not to upset the political leaders in Mexico, Taylor remarked.
As an example, reports by another federal agency, The U.S. Forest
Service, concerning summer fires in Arizona, specifically the
Monument Fire in Cochise County and the Murphy Complex Fire in Santa
Cruz County, had statements that the fires were started by illegal
immigrants excised from its reports on the direction of the State
Department, he said, as he held up what he said was a copy of the
report which has been removed from official files.
Firefighters working wildfires on federal land have reported they
have been shot at during their attempts to put out a blaze, Taylor said.
Again such information is taken out of any official federal report,
The people who are crossing the border from Mexico into the U.S. now
are not the same type as they were years ago, when even drug
smugglers in those bygone eras did not carry weapons, Taylor said.
Saying he has twice testified before congressional committees and has
escorted members of Congress along the border so they can see the
real-world people of Arizona and the Border Patrol face, Taylor
emphasized his growing concern of harden criminal activities taking
deeper roots in Arizona to the detriment of the state's citizens.
While he is most familiar with Santa Cruz County aspects of illegal
activities, he said he will be studying Cochise County between
Douglas and the New Mexico state line soon.
America's relationship with Mexico is at a point where traffic coming
out of the neighbor to the south will create more harm than good
unless the federal government stops ignoring the real issue, which is
that Mexican drug cartels and gangs do not care who is hurt in the
process of making a profit.
During his presentation, he showed photos of dismembered bodies and
heads, some of which were found in the U.S. because of gangs and
cartels fighting each other over lucrative smuggling routes.
"The border has become lawless. The whole dynamic has changed,"
Taylor said of what he envisions as more horrific events happening in
Pinal County deputies seize 4,000 pounds of marijuana
by Laurie Merrill - Nov. 20, 2011 02:53 PM
Pinal County Sheriff's Office deputies cracked a human-and- drug
smuggling ring, nabbed more than 4,000 pounds of marijuana, made 10
arrests and seized a gun during a busy week that ended Saturday, said
Pinal Spokesman Elias Johnson.
Authorities tracked two abandoned vehicles, a Chevrolet Tahoe and a
stolen Chevrolet pickup truck, shrouded by brush and each containing
a large amount of marijuana, Johnson said.
The Tahoe, discovered Friday, concealed more than 1,500 pounds while
the pickup truck carried more than 1,800 pounds of marijuana, Johnson
said. The pickup was seized early Saturday on a trail south of
Interstate 8 and Freeman Road.
Also, on Thursday authorities apprehended six illegal immigrants near
Stanfield Road south of Interstate 8, Johnson said.
Also participating in the effort were the Maricopa County Sheriff's
Office and Gila River Police Department and the federal Bureau of
Land Management, Immigration Customs Enforcement and United States
Border Patrol - Tucson Sector.
In other drug smuggling arrests, a deputy stopped two men in a Ford
Crown Victoria that had been speeding on the Interstate 10 about 4
p.m. Monday, Johnson said.
As the deputy approached the vehicle, he observed two large bundles
of marijuana, 250 pounds, in the back seat, Johnson said. The driver,
identified as Leeh Bernice Liston, 42, of Tucson and passenger,
Manuel Lopez Gomez of Mexico were arrested, Johnson said.
A deputy traveling north on Stanfield Road made the next bust about 7
p.m. Monday after stopping a speeding, 1998 Chevrolet Suburban. The
driver dashed out when the car was pulled over, but the passenger
stayed put, Johnson said.
The passenger, believed to be here illegally and taken to the Border
Patrol Substation in Casa Grande, was in possession of a 9mm handgun,
magazine and 32 rounds of ammunition, Johnson said.
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu stated, "Last month we helped deal
the Sinaloa Cartel a body blow by taking down several of its key
members who used Pinal County as a way to get their drugs into the
United States. Despite those efforts, this week proves the problem
continues and it will not end until the border is properly secured. "
Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/community/pinal/articles/