Tuesday, October 22, 2013



Aerostat near YPG avoids ax
October 18, 2013 10:08 PM
Cronkite News Service

WASHINGTON — Tucked inside the bill that reopened the federal
government was language guaranteeing that border-security measures,
specifically radar surveillance blimps such as one found near Yuma,
would continue to be funded into 2014.
The 14-page bill to reopen government agencies and extend the
nation's debt limit also included language for everything from
retroactively paying furloughed federal employees to making a one-
time $174,000 payment to the widow of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg,

And some of these extras could end up benefiting Arizona.
Besides the border-security language, the bill appropriates a total
of $636 million to the Interior and Agriculture departments for
wildfire suppression, $15 million of which goes to burned-area

The bill does not attach a dollar figure to the requirement, but it
calls for staffing levels of Customs and Border Protection officers
and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to stay at pre-
shutdown levels. Salaries and expenses for both agencies are to stay
the same, the bill says.

It specifically directs the Department of Homeland Security to
operate the Tethered Aerostat Radar System, a long-running border
radar system that was threatened with being eliminated earlier this
The system consists of eight blimp-like balloons, tethered at spots
along the border, that carry radar aloft to search for drug
smuggling. Two of the balloons are in Arizona, one near Yuma and
another at Fort Huachuca.

The system has been run for years by the Defense Department, which
had proposed doing away with the aging program earlier this year. A
2012 report by the Government Accountability Office said the system
cost $213.5 million to operate from 2007 to 2012.
But 16 members of Congress — including Arizona Reps. Ron Barber, D-
Tucson, and Trent Franks, R-Glendale — wrote to the Pentagon asking
it to shift control of the program to the Department of Homeland
Security at the end of the fiscal year — Sept. 30.
That letter said ending the program would "substantially degrade
counter-narcotics operations because a suitable alternative to TARS
has not been identified."
The Pentagon agreed to keep the balloons flying until the end of
fiscal 2013 and in April then-Homeland Security Secretary Janet
Napolitano asked for $37.4 million in her department's 2014 budget to
take over operation of TARS.

Barber welcomed the inclusion of the program in the late-Wednesday
budget deal, calling it essential for border security.
''I am pleased that this funding will ensure that our Southern
Arizona aerostats continue to fly," Barber said in a statement
emailed from his office Thursday.
The system has been in use for more than two decades, according to
its congressional supporters.

''They (the blimps) are aging to say the least," said Ronald Colburn,
former deputy chief of the Border Patrol, in an email Thursday.
"Perhaps 'ancient' describes them better." Besides being old,
Colburn said the system is expensive to maintain, one reason the
Pentagon wanted to drop it.

Not everyone welcomes the extension of the program. But Vicki
Gaubeca, director of the Regional Center for Border Rights at the
American Civil Liberties Union-New Mexico, said she was not surprised
by the move.
''Congress continues to support bloated law enforcement efforts along
the border," said Gaubeca, who thinks the blimps and the number of
officers on the border are unnecessary.

Web Links:
• Budget bill: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113hr2775enr/pdf/
• Lawmakers' letter: http://barber.house.gov/sites/barber.house.gov/
• GAO report: http://gao.gov/assets/650/649661.pdf
• ACLU Regional Center for Border Rights: http://www.aclu-nm.org/what-

Read more: http://www.yumasun.com/articles/aerostat-90178-avoids-

Border Patrol arrests 2, seizes 349 lbs. of pot
October 18, 2013 10:30 PM
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Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents arrested two drug-smuggling suspects
and a convicted sex offender, and seized 349 pounds of marijuana
worth an estimated $174,500 during two separate incidents this week.

On Wednesday, a Mexican citizen convicted of committing lewd and
lascivious acts with a child in California in December 2000, and
sentenced to 12 years in prison, was arrested. His name has not been
released to the public. The man had previously been deported to
Mexico in September, but later re-entered the United States
illegally. His case will be turned over to the U.S. Attorney's Office
for prosecution.

On Thursday, agents observed two people walking on the west side of
Old Papago road north of Los Vidrios, one of several known smuggling
routes through the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge southeast
of Yuma. With help from a U.S. Customs and Border Protection
helicopter, agents were able to apprehend the two Mexican citizens
and seized 349 pounds of pot.

The two drug-smuggling suspects and the marijuana were turned over to
the Yuma County Narcotics Task Force.

Read more: http://www.yumasun.com/articles/border-90175-patrol-

Note: Just about the only news of illegal immigration comes from
local sources.

Authorities raid stash-house where women may have been raped
Posted: Saturday, October 19, 2013 6:36 pm
Ildefonso Ortiz | The Monitor
Posted on October 19, 2013

McALLEN — Wednesday raids in Alamo and Weslaco found 71 people who
appeared to have been smuggled into the country and held – the women
raped, an informant told authorities.
Federal authorities arrested Robert Lee Brouwen, Bernardino Martinez,
Gonzalo Mosso and Paula Fernandez, suspecting them of running the
stash house. U.S. District Judge Dorina Ramos notified them of their
charges Friday and ordered they be held without bond until a
detention hearing next week.
An informant tipped off the FBI on Wednesday to a house in the 400
block of Cameo Circle in Alamo, where the suspected smugglers were
keeping a large number of people, according to court records.
The FBI coordinated with U.S. Border Patrol, Alamo police and
University of Texas-Pan American police and raided the home in
Alamo, where they found 56 people from El Salvador, Mexico and other
countries, court records show.
At the house, authorities seized two ledgers that were used to keep
track of the people brought to the house.
Law enforcement then headed to La Copa Inn near the intersection of
Interstate 2/Expressway 83 and Tower Road in Alamo, where they went
into rooms 223 and 224 and found 11 people.
From there, the agents went to a third location in the 6800 block of
Bill Clinton Street in Weslaco and found four more people.
Brouwen was identified as the owner of the properties, while Martinez
and Mosso were identified as the ones in charge of the houses and
transporting the individual to Falfurrias so they could trek around
the Border Patrol checkpoint. Fernandez was identified as the person
is charge of cooking and caring for children at the house, court
records show.

Alamo police were tasked with conducting the investigation into the
rape allegations.


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