Monday, December 29, 2014



Note: A look at trafficking beyond AZMEX. "One ton of cocaine was seized in El Salvador alone"

Operation Lionfish II Nets Major Haul Of Drugs, Weapons And Chemical Precursors
By: Kylie Bull, Managing Editor
12/18/2014 ( 2:29pm)

More than 27.5 tons of drugs were seized in Operation Lionfish II, an INTERPOL-led initiative targeting the illicit trafficking of drugs and firearms by organized crime groups across Central America and the Caribbean. The seized drugs included cocaine, cannabis and heroin, with the cocaine haul alone valued at almost $1.3 billion.

Drawing on extensive coordination, groundwork and resources provided by 39 countries and territories across the Americas, the Caribbean and Europe, the two-week operation (December 1-12) also resulted in the arrest of 422 suspects. Approximately 7.6 tons of chemical precursors, 100 weapons and $2.2 million in cash were also seized.

Two individuals held in the Dominican Republic and Peru were the object of INTERPOL Red Notices for internationally wanted persons in connection with alleged offenses including arms trafficking and drug trafficking.

Operation Lionfish II was carried out as part of INTERPOL's Project Fortaleza, which supports countries in Latin America fight the most dangerous and ruthless organized crime syndicates involved in large scale drug trafficking and illicit arms trade, as well as other criminal activities.

"The success of this INTERPOL-led operation is down to the commitment of participating countries and the expertise of frontline police," said Glyn Lewis, INTERPOL's director for specialized crime and analysis. "These officers operate often in dangerous circumstances to confront the insidious impact of organized crime groups in Latin America exploiting Central America's corridor and sea routes to conduct their illicit activities."

"While the results are impressive, they are just a start," Lewis said. "Follow-up work will continue with further investigations and evidence being prepared for judicial processes. INTERPOL will support its member countries in these ongoing international inquiries."

Financially supported by the French Ministry of Interior and the MILDECA (Mission Interministérielle de Lutte contre les Drogues et les Conduites Addictives), Operation Lionfish II was co-organized by INTERPOL's General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, the French International Police Cooperation Service and France's OCRTIS (Office Central pour la Répression du Traffic Illicite des Stupéfiants).

With INTERPOL units providing coordination on the ground, INTERPOL's regional bureau in El Salvador and the OCRTIS office in Martinique provided real-time support for information exchange and facilitating cross-checking of data against INTERPOL's global databases.

Jean-Jacques Colombi, Commissaire Divisionnaire at INTERPOL's National Central Bureau in Paris, said France had played a key role in Operation Lionfish II because disrupting drugs and weapons trafficking not only protects transit countries, but also destination countries in Europe.

The operation was undertaken in partnership with the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC) and World Customs Organization (WCO), with support from Europol, which carried out additional checks against its databases, the Maritime Analysis and Operations Center, narcotics, as well as the French coastguard and customs.

"The CCLEC was pleased to partner with INTERPOL and the WCO in Operation Lionfish II," said CCLEC Permanent Secretary Paul Hilaire. "For two weeks, the community of law enforcement officers throughout the Americas, embarked with European partners on joint enforcement action against transnational crime, with tremendous effect. The results clearly conclude that when we work together, governments, customs, police, military, the intelligence community and citizens of goodwill, phenomenal success is guaranteed."

Saul Hernandez Lainez, head of INTERPOL's regional bureau in San Salvador, said, "Operation Lionfish II once again demonstrates the importance of INTERPOL's global tools and network in tackling crime affecting entire regions, and the essential role of its Regional Bureaus in supporting member countries combat organized crime and drug trafficking."

With approximately 50 illicit laboratories producing narcotic substances shut down, the operation also saw the Colombian National Navy seize a semi-submersible device used by criminal gangs to transport drugs, two light airplanes seized in Ecuador and almost 20 illicit jungle airstrips destroyed by Peruvian authorities. One ton of cocaine was seized in El Salvador alone.

Operation Lionfish II included the following countries and territories: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Belgium, Bermuda, Bolivia, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Italy, Jamaica, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Saint Maarten, Spain, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, United Kingdom, United States and Venezuela.




Merry Christmas Feliz Navidad

Note: Inside job?

Arizona prosecutors want ex-officers' case dismissed
December 24, 2014 @ 1:36 pm

PHOENIX (AP) -- The disappearance of a key wiretap document in an Arizona corruption case has led prosecutors to seek the dismissal of charges against three former sheriff's officers accused of helping a cartel-connected heroin smuggling ring.

The request to dismiss charges against the former employees of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office came after it was recently discovered that a wiretap application that must be completed to get electronic surveillance was never actually filed. The discovery led defense attorneys to ask a judge to throw out all evidence arising from the wiretap.

Prosecutors, who have accepted blame for not filing the document with the court, asked a judge late Monday to throw out charges against the three ex-officers and three others, including the alleged ring's leader, who authorities say was working with a high-ranking Sinaloa drug cartel figure.

Prosecutors also are seeking to void the convictions of 11 others who have already pleaded guilty to drug charges in the case. Some have completed their punishments, while others are still serving prison sentences.

Jerry Cobb, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney's office, which is prosecuting the case, said the dismissal being sought would leave open the possibility that charges could be refiled if independent evidence of the crimes surfaced. "That wiretap was so critical to the case," Cobb said.

The case has served as an embarrassment to Arpaio's office since the three employees were arrested in 2011.

The agency issued a statement Wednesday saying the investigation was solid and that sheriff's officials were disappointed with recent developments in the case.

The three are accused of helping the ring smuggle heroin from Mexico into metro Phoenix and launder its illegal proceeds through two companies. They pleaded not guilty to charges.

Former sheriff's Deputy Alfredo Aguirre Navarrette, a one-time member of Arpaio's elite immigration squad, is accused of driving smuggling vehicles, laundering money and using a police database to pass information along to members of the drug ring.

He also was accused of assisting a separate immigrant smuggling group by operating a stash house and transporting immigrants in the country illegally from Arizona to California. Authorities say Navarrette, while out on bail, was pulled over while driving a suspected immigrant smuggling vehicle. He has been jailed since.

The sheriff's office launched an internal investigation in 2010 after a confidential informant told police that Navarrette was seen snorting cocaine and bragging about his work for the drug ring while at a party.

Former jail officers Marcella Marie Hernandez and Sylvia Rios Najera were accused of helping launder the ring's drug proceeds. At the time of her arrest, Hernandez was pregnant with the alleged ring leader's child.

If a judge grants the dismissal request, all that would remain of the case would be insurance fraud and arson charges against Navarrette, who is accused of causing a fire to a car in 2010.


Number of federal inmates rise: Sheriff
Published on Wednesday December 24, 2014,
Written by Rosalia Muñoz
Nogales Az.

The number of federal inmates increased in the prison of Santa Cruz County after they reached zero last month.
Sheriff Tony Estrada said last week received 100 prisoners, most of them are undocumented immigrants who received a sentence of 30, 60 or 90 days, for illegally entering the country.

For each inmate the county receives $ 65 per day from the federal government, which greatly benefits the economy of the prison, which was severely affected by declining resources by the County in recent months.
If the number of federal inmates continues at the current level, the district jail should exceed revenue
expectations for the year, the county manager Carlos Rivera said.

The Sheriff said he was very happy that this represents progress for them and hopes to continue receiving inmates.


Al alza internos federales: Sheriff
Detalles Publicado el Miercoles 24 de Diciembre de 2014,
Escrito por Rosalia Muñoz
Nogales Az.

El número de reclusos federales aumentó en la cárcel del Condado de Santa Cruz después de que estos llegaron a cero el pasado mes.
El sheriff Tony Estrada manifestó que la semana pasada recibieron a 100 reclusos, la mayoría de ellos son indocumentados que recibieron una condena de 30, 60 o 90 días, por ingresar ilegalmente al país.
Por cada interno, señaló, reciben 65 dólares diarios de parte del gobierno federal, lo que beneficia en gran medida la economía de la prisión, la cual se vio severamente afectada por la disminución de recursos por parte del Condado en meses anteriores.
Si el número de internos federales continúa en el nivel actual, el distrito de la cárcel debe superar las expectativas de ingresos para el año, informó el administrador del condado Carlos Rivera.
El Sheriff dijo sentirse muy contento por que esto significa un avance para ellos y espera continuar recibiendo internos.


Monday, December 22, 2014



Note: Another snapshot of the AZMEX border.

1 day 4 minutes ago by Anthony Victor Reyes
BP arrest 7 previously convicted individuals over the last 2 weeks

TUCSON - Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents arrested seven individuals with serious criminal histories, including sex with a minor and theft, over the last two weeks.

Douglas Station agents apprehended a Mexican national, who have been previously convicted of robbery, and a Guatemalan national, convicted of vehicle theft, on Saturday, Dec. 6.

On Dec. 10 and 13, two Guatemalan MS-13 gang members were arrested by Tucson Station agents. One of the suspects was previously convicted of battery, robbery, theft and criminal impersonation.

On Sunday, Dec. 14, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico was turned over by Tucson Police Department after the officers discovered his legal status during a vehicle stop. The suspect was also in possession of a loaded handgun.

Three Mexican men were apprehended in three separate incidents at different stations with a previous conviction of having sex with a minor. The arrests occurred on Dec. 10, 11 and 15.

Anyone who experiences suspicious activity can call Border Patrol anonymously and toll-free at 1-877-872-7435.


23 hours 28 minutes ago by Anthony Victor Reyes
BP find another truck packed with marijuana following Tuesday's seizure

RED ROCK, Ariz. - Casa Grande Border Patrol agents discovered a stolen truck loaded with nearly a ton of marijuana on Wednesday, Dec. 17.

The truck was found abandoned near Red Rock, Ariz.
It was loaded with 1,897 pounds of marijuana. The drugs were estimated to be worth $948,500.
The truck was reported to be stolen out of Phoenix.

This seizure followed Tuesday's discovery of a different stolen truck that was also loaded with nearly a ton of marijuana. For more information on Tuesday's seizure: patrol OAM find stolen truck with nearly a ton of marijuana/.

The agents seized the narcotics and the vehicle involved with Wednesday's seizure. The drugs were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration and the truck was turned over to The Department of Public Safety.


Border Patrol agents seize nearly $900k worth of marijuana in Yuma
By Brent Corrado.
CREATED Dec 18, 2014

YUMA, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Border Patrol agents seized nearly $900,000 in marijuana in separate incidents at the Yuma Sector on Dec. 17.

According to agents, a utility truck caused suspicion when it was traveling through a Dome Valley route that is normally used for farming vehicles and equipment.

Border Patrol agents stopped the vehicle and after obtaining consent to search the truck, they found 1,087 pounds of marijuana in the tool storage area of the vehicle. The value of these drugs was worth an estimated $543,500.

That same day, Blythe Station agents arrested a man that was attempting to smuggle 248 pounds of marijuana in a truck. After a canine search, a false compartment in the gas tank revealed the drugs, which have an estimated value of $124,000.

With assistance from an Office of Air and Marine Yuma Air Branch aircrew, agents found makeshift backpacks containing $100,000 worth of marijuana near Cabeza Prieta Wildlife Refuge. The three individuals carrying the backpacks admitted to entering the U.S. illegally.

Also on Dec. 17, Wellton Station agents responded to an area where seven individuals were walking north through the desert. After arriving on the scene, agents discovered 263 pounds of marijuana in the individuals' backpacks. These drugs were valued at $131,500.

In all cases, all suspects, drugs and vehicles were processed in accordance with Yuma Sector guidelines.


Prosecutor takes blame for flaw in corruption case
Posted: Dec 19, 2014 2:13 PM MST
Updated: Dec 19, 2014 2:14 PM MST
Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) - A prosecutor has accepted blame for an error by his office that's expected to lead to the dismissal of corruption charges against at least one of three former sheriff's employees in metro Phoenix accused of helping a drug smuggling ring.

The case against the former employees of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office is in danger of collapsing after it was recently discovered that a document that authorities must complete to get a wiretap was never actually filed with the court.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery acknowledged Friday that the missing document will likely lead to the dismissal of some charges against former Deputy Alfredo Aguirre Navarrette.

Prosecutors are sifting through the case to see whether they can salvage charges against the other two former officers.


Note: one of many

El Centro Sector Border Patrol Arrests Criminal Gang Member
Release Date: December 19, 2014

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CALEXICO, Calif. – Thursday, U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Calexico station apprehended a dangerous gang member attempting to make an illegal entry into the United States.

Border Patrol agents arrested a 43-year-old Mexican national at around 10:45 a.m., as he entered the United States illegally from Mexico approximately 20 miles west of the downtown Calexico Port of Entry.

The man, later identified as Juan Jose Carmona-Escobar, was transported to the Calexico Border Patrol station where he admitted to being an active member of the "Sureños 13" criminal street gang out of Santa Maria. Carmona has numerous tattoos affiliated to this gang. Agents also discovered that Carmona has an extensive criminal and immigration history.

The gang member is an aggravated felon who has convictions from Riverside for stolen property, vehicle theft, control substance for sale, and battery of a spouse. He was ordered to serve no less than 36 months in prison and 12 months of probation for his crimes. The gang member was ordered removed by an Immigration Judge in April, 2005.

The man is in Border Patrol custody and will be criminally prosecuted for re-entry into the United States after being ordered removed.

This is the 28th gang member arrested in the El Centro Sector area of responsibility this year.

The El Centro Sector's Community Awareness Campaign is a simple and effective program to raise public awareness on the indicators of crime and other threats. We encourage public and private sector employees to remain vigilant and play a key role in keeping our country safe. Please report any suspicious activity to the Border Community Threat Hotline at 1-800-901-2003.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

AZMEX F&F EXTRA 20-12-14


Note: The number of "Hispanic/Latino/Mexican dead directly tied to F&F is estimated to be well over 1,000 by now. Go to links for photos.

Judicial Watch Obtains Fast and Furious Crime Scene Photos from Phoenix 2013 Gang-Style Assault with Rifle Supplied by Obama Justice Department

DECEMBER 18, 2014

Photos include close-up shots of Fast and Furious AK-47 rifle, blood-stained apartment, victim with massive head wound

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained graphic crime scene photos taken at the site of a 2013 gang-style assault on a Phoenix, AZ, apartment building, including a close-up photo revealing the serial number of the AK-47 rifle used by the assailants. As a result of Judicial Watch's October 2, 2014, public records lawsuit, the weapon has been already traced to the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) Operation Fast and Furious gunrunning program. The photos were also produced by the Phoenix Police Department in response to this lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. City of Phoenix (No. CV2014- 012018)). Full batch of photos can be viewed here.

According to press reports at the time of the assault, police investigating the shooting that left two wounded found an AK-47 assault rifle in the front passenger area of a vehicle that had crashed into a fence surrounding the apartment complex. Inside sources informed Judicial Watch at the time of the crime scene investigation that the AK-47 used in the assault had been provided to the assailants as part of the Obama-Holder Fast and Furious program. On October 16, 2014, Judicial Watch announced that, based upon information uncovered through its October 2 public records lawsuit, the U.S. Congress had confirmed that the rifle was tied to the Fast and Furious operation. Attorney General Eric Holder has already admitted that guns from the Fast and Furious scandal are expected to be used in criminal activity on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border for years to come.

In an October 16 letter to Deputy Attorney General James Cole, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Rep. Darryl Issa (R-CA) to Deputy Attorney General James Cole detail:

Based on the serial number [1977DX1654] from the police report obtained by Judicial Watch and documents obtained during our Fast and Furious investigation, we can confirm that the assault rifle recovered in the vehicle on July 30, 2013, was purchased by Sean Christopher Stewart. Stewart pled guilty to firearms trafficking charges resulting from his involvement with Operation Fast and Furious … Stewart purchased this particular firearm on December 8, 2009, one of 40 that he purchased that day while under ATF surveillance." [Emphasis in original]

According to the Phoenix Police Department report, ATF traced the firearm on July 31, 2013, the day after Phoenix police officers recovered it. Yet, over a full year has passed, and the Department has failed to notify the Committees … This lack of transparency about the consequences of Fast and Furious undermines public confidence in law enforcement and gives the impression that the Department is seeking to suppress information and limit its exposure to public scrutiny.

In addition, despite the fact that the crime scene photos obtained by Judicial Watch clearly revealed a serial number that would show that the AK-47 used in the commission of the crime was a Fast and Furious weapon, the City of Phoenix and Department of Justice failed to turn over the incriminating photos to Congress, despite longstanding requests for such information. According to Judicial Watch sources, investigators knew at the scene and subsequently that the AK-47 was a Fast and Furious weapon.

The graphic crime scene photos include, but are not limited to, the following:

The Fast and Furious AK-47 laying in the front passenger well of the assailant's vehicle
The Fast and Furious AK-47 in the police department evidence room
A close-up shot of the Fast and Furious AK-47 clearly revealing the ID number
A picture of the blood-stained apartment of the victim shot in the assault
A close-up picture of the victim with a massive gunshot head wound
A close-up shot of the victim's ID
A handgun found at the scene of the crime

Three weeks following the July 29, 2013, assault, four suspects were apprehended in a raid conducted jointly by Phoenix police detectives and investigators from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). According to press reports at the time "numerous rifles and handguns" were found when, "Detectives from the Phoenix Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations served federal search warrants."

The presence of DHS investigators immediately raised questions because Phoenix was the central location of the ATF's deadly Fast and Furious gunrunning operation. Operation Fast and Furious was a Justice Department/ Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) program in which the Obama administration allowed guns to go to Mexican drug cartels in the hopes that the guns would end up at crime scenes, thereby advancing gun-control policies. Fast and Furious weapons have been implicated in the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and hundreds of other innocents in Mexico.

The failure to provide Congress with reports about the Phoenix crime scene is not the first time the Obama Justice Department has been accused of withholding Fast and Furious information. On June 28, 2012, Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt by the House of Representatives over his refusal to turn over documents about why the Obama administration may have lied to Congress and refused for months to disclose the truth about the gunrunning operation. It marked the first time in U.S. history a sitting Attorney General was held in contempt of Congress.

Separate Judicial Watch litigation for these documents, which had been subjected to an extraordinary executive privilege reelection season claim by President Obama, forced their release. Attorney General Holder announced his surprise retirement two days after the federal court ruling that led to the disclosure of the documents and to President Obama's abandoning all of his controversial executive privilege claims that had kept the documents secret for nearly three years.

"Another Obama administration Fast and Furious cover-up has been undone by Judicial Watch. These crime scene photos graphically illustrate the legacy of President Obama and Eric Holder's deadly Fast and Furious lies," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "Even as the evidence and casualties mount, the Obama administration is still secreting information about its reckless program. These photos show the American people firsthand the bloody consequences when an out-of-control administration will not even admit – or correct – its own mistakes."

Judicial Watch investigators are currently uploading the photos in their entirety (now complete).

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

AZMEX UPDATE3 18-12-14


Note: Once again, the Driver's License is the primary ID for purchase of firearms.

Young immigrants allowed to get driver's licenses in Arizona
December 18, 2014 @ 2:04 pm

PHOENIX -- A judge has cleared the way for thousands of young immigrants in Arizona who are protected from deportation under an Obama administration policy to get driver's licenses.

A preliminary injunction issued Thursday by U.S. District Judge David Campbell bars the state from enforcing Gov. Jan Brewer's policy of denying the licenses to about 20,000 immigrants.

The injunction that takes effect on Monday was a formality that carries out instructions issued in July by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The move in Arizona to deny the licenses was a reaction to steps taken by the Obama administration in June 2012 to shield thousands of immigrants from deportation. Brewer's move marked the nation's most visible challenge to the Obama policy.

The Supreme Court denied Brewer's request to stay the 9th Circuit ruling that blocked her policy of denying driver's licenses to young immigrants who have avoided deportation under an Obama administration policy.

Nebraska is the only other state to have made similar denials, and a federal judge this year dismissed a lawsuit contesting that state's policy.

The move by Obama applied to people younger than 30 who came to the U.S. before turning 16; have been in the country for at least five continuous years; are enrolled in or have graduated from a high school or GED program; or have served in the military. Applicants also were allowed to pursue a two-year renewable work permit.

Brewer issued her executive order in August 2012 directing state agencies to deny driver's licenses and other public benefits to immigrants who get work authorization under the deferred-action program.

Brewer's attorneys argued the move grew from liability concerns and the desire to reduce the risk of the licenses being used to improperly access public benefits.

Immigrant rights advocates said the rule change made it difficult or impossible for young immigrants to do essential things such as go to school and stores, and find and hold a job.

In July, the 9th Circuit concluded that there was no legitimate state interest in treating the immigrants differently from other noncitizens who could apply for driver's licenses. Instead, the court suggested Brewer's order was intended to express hostility toward the immigrants, in part because of the federal government's policy toward them.

Last month, Obama issued a broader executive order on immigration that lifts the threat of deportation from millions of immigrants living illegally in the United States.

A group of 24 states, including Arizona, joined in a federal lawsuit alleging Obama overstepped his constitutional powers in a way that will only worsen the humanitarian problems along the southern U.S. border.


AZMEX UPDATE2 18-12-14


Note: As always, AP defines illegal immigrants as "immigrants". An ongoing insult to legal immigrants. ID theft will continue to be a significant problem in AZ. Even less help for victims now.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio to halt squad targeting immigrant ID theft
December 18, 2014 @ 10:25 am

PHOENIX -- An Arizona sheriff known for arresting hundreds of immigrants in the country illegally on charges of finding work using fake or stolen identities is planning to close the controversial squad that investigates such cases.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's decision to disband the criminal employment squad will end his last major foothold in immigration enforcement after the courts and federal government have gradually reined in his powers in recent years.

Since 2008, Arpaio has raided 83 businesses, leading to more than 700 immigrants being charged with using fake or stolen IDs to get jobs. The raids have been criticized as focusing too heavily on the workers instead of employers.

"Here is guy who abused these laws and twisted them in such a sick way to do it for political gain. But I am glad that the reign over immigrants is over," said Lydia Guzman, a civil rights advocate who documented many of Arpaio's business raids and immigration patrols.

The agency didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday morning.

The sheriff's office announced the squad's planned closure late Wednesday as part of a legal challenge to the immigrant ID-theft cases. The squad will close in January or February after it completes an investigation.

A memo by a sheriff's official said the agency will be voluntarily halting its work-related ID theft enforcement and that the decision was made after the courts have shelved certain Arizona immigration laws.

The ID theft laws were part of a package of legislation that sought to confront employers who hire immigrants in the country illegally. Only one employer has been criminally charged in those investigations.

But the immigrants arrested for ID theft typically plead guilty to a felony, frequently face deportation and are unable to re-enter the U.S. legally.

Arpaio's immigration powers have dwindled as the federal government curtailed his authority or courts struck down several Arizona laws seeking to confront illegal immigration.

In late 2009, Washington stripped some of his deputies of their power to make federal immigration arrests. The restrictions continued when a judge ruled in May 2013 that Arpaio's office had systematically racially profiled Latinos in regular traffic and special immigration patrols. Arpaio vigorously denies the court's conclusions.

Another squad, focused on enforcing an Arizona immigrant smuggling law, has come under scrutiny from the judge in the profiling case after allegations of misconduct surfaced earlier this year, including whether a squad member had been shaking down immigrants who were in the country illegally.

A federal judge last month struck down the state's smuggling law, which was the legal underpinning for Arpaio's immigration patrols.

Still, a small number of Arizona's immigration laws have been upheld, including a key section of the state's landmark 2010 immigration law that requires police to check people's immigration status under certain circumstances.




Note: For those who might think the drug trade has gone away. Just a sample of drug related activity here. Federal policy for a long time now is to not report Human trafficking numbers.

BP agents seize $360k worth of marijuana
By Brent Corrado. CREATED 2:58 PM

SONOITA, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Border Patrol agents seized over 700 pounds of marijuana at the Sonoita station on Monday morning.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, two vehicles were seized at the station and three suspected smugglers were arrested. Agents initially responded to reports of suspicious activity near Elgin.

After investigating two vehicles, bundles of marijuana were discovered underneath plywood and debris in the two truck's beds. The three suspects, one a U.S. citizen and two Mexican nationals, were arrested after trying to flee the scene.


San Luis CBP officers seize $453K in hard drugs
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers assigned to the San Luis Port of Entry seized more than 132 pounds of methamphetamine and heroin in the past several days.
Posted: Tuesday, December 16, 2014 9:22 pm
Posted on Dec 16, 2014by Amy Crawford

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers assigned to the U.S. Port of Entry at San Luis seized more than 132 pounds of methamphetamine and heroin in the past several days.
On Saturday, customs officers arrested Miguel Anjel Lugo-Sanchez, a 56-year-old Mexican national living legally in Somerton after a canine alerted to more than $157,000 worth of meth and $71,000 worth of heroin hidden throughout a smuggling vehicle.
Customs officers also arrested Cesar Linarez-Pimental, a 43-year-old Mexican national on Friday after a canine alerted to the tailgate of his truck, where 30 packages of meth — more than 31 pounds — valued at just over $94,000, were found.
On Thursday, customs officers referred Janet Esmeralda Soria-Caravantes, 24, of San Luis Rio Colorado, Son., for further inspection of her Honda SUV.
After a CBP narcotics detection canine alerted to the presence of drugs beneath the back seats, officers removed 14 packages of meth weighing more than 22 pounds and worth nearly $68,000.
Earlier that same day, customs officers arrested Abraham Ruvalcaba-Zepeda, 21, of San Luis Rio Colorado, Son., after a service canine alerted officers to nearly 21 pounds of meth, worth almost $63,000, under the rear seats of a sedan he was driving.
Officers seized all drugs and vehicles involved, and turned the subjects over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.


Note: much more, especially heroin seems to have made it through.

PGR destroys more than 22 tons of drugs
Details Published on Wednesday December 17, 2014,
Written by Staff / El Diario de Sonora


The federal agency announced it was in six municipalities in the state.
The Attorney General's Office (PGR) through its delegation in the state of Sonora, incinerated during the first half of December, 22 tons, 108 kilos, 657 grams and 300 milligrams of narcotics in the municipalities of Cajeme, Hermosillo, Sonoyta, Nogales, Agua Prieta and San Luis Rio Colorado.

The cremated included: 22 tons, 3 kilos, 802 grams and 100 milligrams of marijuana; 70 kilos, 600 grams and 90 milligrams of methamphetamine; five kilos, and 50 grams of heroin; 11 kilos, 828 grams and 700 milligrams of cocaine; 13 kilos, 50 grams, and 900 milligrams of marijuana seeds and 4 liters, and 880 milliliters of liquid methamphetamine.

Such quantities of drugs are related to 98 preliminary inquiries initiated by drug crimes in its various forms.
All events of incineration were performed in the presence of civilians and military personnel authorities of the State Delegation of the PGR, the Criminal Investigation Agency (AIC) and representatives of Internal Control of the Institution, who testified to the authenticity and weight substances destroyed.

Thus, the PGR reiterates its commitment to fight federal crimes with all the resources that provides the law and urges the public to report 24 hours 365 days a year to your Complaint Center and Citizens Service (CEDAC): 01 800 00 85 400 or email:


Note: Might want to read this one a couple times.

Drivers rarely charged in large pot busts
Bundles of confiscated marijuana stand on display at the Mariposa Port of Entry on Nov. 19, 2013 during a U.S. Customs and Border Protection press conference to announce a record-setting, 20,000-pound marijuana seizure. The bust was notable not only for its size, but also for the fact that the driver of the truck carrying the load was prosecuted and convicted.

Posted: Tuesday, December 16, 2014 7:54 am | Updated: 9:45 am, Tue Dec 16, 2014.
By Murphy Woodhouse
Nogales International

On Nov. 5, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Mariposa Port of Entry discovered nearly 6,000 pounds of marijuana in a northbound shipment of optical fiber. At the time, it was the seventh bust valued at more than a $1 million at the port since Jan. 1, and was followed shortly by an eighth on Nov. 17.
"Officers seized the vehicle and drugs, and referred the (truck driver) to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations," a CBP news release said.

In an email response to an NI reporter a week after the incident, an ICE spokeswoman said that "(t)he driver of the vehicle was not prosecuted, and the incident is part of a larger ongoing HSI investigation."

When it comes to busts at the Mariposa Commercial Facility, this course of events – a large load being discovered in a truck, the driver being referred to local HSI agents, no charges being filed against the driver, and a larger investigation opening up – is common, said Eric Balliet, the assistant special agent in charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Nogales.
"Between one out of four and one out of five," Balliet said was the likely ratio of drivers who end up being charged with drug trafficking crimes. "It's more of the exception than the norm."

HSI is the investigative arm of ICE, and has the "authority to investigate all types of cross-border criminal activity," including drug, weapons and human smuggling and transnational financial crimes, according to ICE's website.

Despite the scale of the alleged criminal violations, many large-load drivers aren't charged for a simple reason: most likely didn't know they were hauling illicit commodities and were what is known as a "blind mule," Balliet said. This determination is made after an intensive interview with arrestees conducted by both CBP port officers and HSI agents, he said.

"A lot of the time, on the cargo loads, there really is what we call a 'no knowledge case,' where there may be, and in likelihood there are, individuals that are employees of the company, either on the U.S. side or the Mexican side, that actually facilitate the loading of the dope," Balliet said. "But the people that actually cross the dope, physically cross it across the U.S.-Mexico border, are not complicit in that activity."

The prevalence of "no-knowledge" cases has a lot to do with the nature of the trucking business in Ambos Nogales, where many loads are crossed by truckers who did not bring the trailers of produce or manufactured goods to the border from their origin, according to Humberto Castro Rivera, a longtime area trucker and transport business owner.

Castro, who said he has worked in the business for 25 years and now owns the small trucking business Centralink, estimated that well more than half of truck loads currently crossing the border with narcotics hidden inside are hauled by such drivers, known locally as "cruzadores," or crossers. Like Balliet, Castro said that the vast majority of those caught are unknowing participants.
"I can't say it's 100 percent. Some do know. But it's nearly 80 percent that don't know," he said.
To avoid the fate of being caught with drugs he didn't know were in his load, Castro said, he and his employees take a number of precautions before accepting other drivers' shipments, including getting the name of the owner and checking out the trailer. He also said he has participated in CBP programs to learn about what potentially suspicious things to look for.
Even with these steps and the many years he's had in the business, each load, to a degree, is still a roll of the dice.
"I try to do the best I can, but the truth is I always have that risk," he said.

Adding to the anxiety is the fact that a driver's crossing documents can still be taken away even if investigators determine that he or she was likely not complicit, something that Castro says has happened to local drivers. Without a visa, decent employment opportunities for truckers in the border region can be scarce.
Balliet agreed.
"It's my assessment that the majority of the 'cruzadores' are actually not involved in the drug trade. They make an honest living, they work hard," he said. "Essentially their border-crossing card is their ability to cross goods back and forth, both northbound and southbound. It's essentially their livelihood."

CBP declined to respond directly to an inquiry regarding the practice of taking crossing privileges away from drivers who are never charged with a crime. Santa Cruz County Attorney George Silva, whose office prosecutes cross-border smuggling cases, confirmed that "it does happen."

Larger probes
Just because a driver isn't charged doesn't mean that the case stops there, Balliet said. In fact, such busts normally lead to significant, long-term investigations.
"The 5,000 pounds of weed got into the trailer somehow and it was going somewhere. That's what our investigator are attuned to. And again, putting all cards face up, it does take a tremendous amount of gumshoe work to backtrack where the load originated from, the company, the customs broker, the warehouse, is it bonded, is it not bonded, does it have a close connection to a local warehouse in Nogales, or in Phoenix, Los Angeles, wherever," Balliet said. "Those are all things that the investigators take a look at."

However, Balliet said, he couldn't provide the precise frequency with which those investigations result in charges without "completely speculating."

Charges in every case is "an unrealistic expectation," he said, though he added that large drug loads are "really where we're going to focus our efforts," rather than on smaller cases like a "40-pound weed load in a gas tank."

With the recent expansion of the Mariposa Port of Entry, commercial truck travel will likely increase over the coming years, which will also make the task of CBP officers and HSI investigators more challenging, Balliet said. In anticipation of this increase, HSI has increased its collaboration with CBP by recently forming what Balliet called the Joint Port Enforcement Group, one of the primary goals of which is to make enforcement "more efficient and effective... while still facilitating and encouraging legitimate trade."

"If you've got 400 trucks coming through, how are you going to find the one with the 4,000 pounds (of narcotics) without bringing to a screeching halt all the legitimate trade going on?" he added.

Charges versus conviction
While most drivers found with thousands of pounds of drugs in their cargo will never face charges, some do. Even so, charges do not guarantee conviction.
On Jan. 22, Mexican national Cuauhtemoc Lopez-Cabrera was arrested at the Mariposa port after CBP officers found roughly 7,400 pounds of marijuana in the truck he was driving. After being read his Miranda Rights, Lopez-Cabrera "admitted to transporting the narcotics in the tractor-trailer he was hauling northbound," according to a subsequent criminal complaint filed at U.S. District Court in Tucson.

Despite the alleged confession, the U.S. Attorney's Office filed a motion to dismiss the charges in February, which was granted by a magistrate judge several days later. According to Cosme Lopez, a Department of Justice spokesman, prosecutors eventually decided that they could not mount a strong enough case to bring a conviction.
"There are times, and this is one of them, that we just can't prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt," Lopez said. "And they're not going to put anybody out there if we can't prove the case."
When asked why having a legally obtained confession was not enough to mount a strong case, Lopez said that "sometimes these cases are kind of weird, if you will."

In November 2013, Mexican national Pedro Corona-Moreno allegedly confessed to having known he was transporting a record-setting 20,000-pound marijuana load busted at the Mariposa port, though said he had done it only after his family was threatened. The U.S. Attorney's Office filed charges and Corona-Moreno pleaded guilty in May to one count of possession with intent to distribute 50 or more kilograms of marijuana, a Class C felony.
In September. he was sentenced to 60 months in prison, with credit for time served.
(Additional reporting by Curt Prendergast.)



Wednesday, December 17, 2014



Note: far left comes together

News executives' endowment to improve reporting on Latino, border issues
Posted: December 16, 2014

Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin will use proceeds from a lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to establish a $2 million Chair in Borderlands Issues at ASU's Cronkite School.
Photo by: ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Eight, Arizona PBS
State Press

Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, longtime owners of the national chain of Village Voice alternative weeklies, will use proceeds from a lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to establish a Chair in Borderlands Issues at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

The $2 million gift will support an endowed chair who will lead a new program at the Cronkite School in which students will cover immigration and border issues in the U.S. and Mexico, in both Spanish and English. The Lacey-Larkin Chair will be the only endowed chair in the country focused exclusively on Latino and borderlands coverage.

The chair will direct advanced student journalists in a professional immersion program in which they will report, write and produce cutting-edge stories that will be distributed in English and Spanish to professional media outlets, and will be prominently featured on the Cronkite News website and Arizona PBS newscasts. Additionally, the Lacey-Larkin Chair will comment on and write about border and immigration reporting nationally, promoting public scrutiny and serving as a national voice on coverage of issues affecting the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population.

The new chair will be the cornerstone of a Cronkite specialization that will include three full-time professors. The Lacey-Larkin Chair and a second, university-funded professor to be added next year will join Cronkite School professor Rick Rodriguez, former editor of the Sacramento Bee and the first Latino president of the American Society of News Editors, as Southwest Borderlands Professors.

A need for immigration coverage

Lacey and Larkin are drawing on proceeds from a $3.75 million settlement from Maricopa County in a widely publicized case that tested First Amendment rights as well as Arpaio's policing practices. They said their gift to ASU grew out of their outrage at the way Mexican immigrants, in particular, have been treated by the sheriff's office.

"Sheriff Joe Arpaio is trampling federal court oversight in his rush to harass the Hispanic community," Lacey said. "During this past election, virtually every candidate felt compelled to discuss our border as if Mexico was an enemy instead of a neighbor. Elected officials are responding to and fanning the flames of bigotry. We intend to encourage the better nature of students at the Cronkite School."

Larkin added, "I grew up in Arizona and was taught from an early age that one must give a hand to those of us less fortunate in life. There is not a more deserving group than those Mexican immigrants who brave unimaginable peril in the Sonoran Desert to travel to Arizona for work and economic opportunity. I hope my endowment of this Borderlands Chair at Cronkite shines a bright light on the Mexican immigrants' heroic struggle for the American Dream in an unfortunately inhospitable Arizona environment."

Kristin Gilger, associate dean of the Cronkite School, said the Lacey and Larkin endowment adds to the pair's already established legacies as champions of the oppressed and watchdogs of government.

"It ensures that the work they care about so much and have done so well lives on in perpetuity," she said. "And it will give students an unmatched opportunity to do the kind of high-level and insightful coverage so needed in this area."

In defense of free speech

The two news executives and the Phoenix-based New Times, part of the Village Voice Media enterprise, have long been critical of Arpaio and his deputies, charging them with racial profiling, illegal detention of Latinos and immigration sweeps in Latino communities in and around Phoenix. The New Times also published numerous stories alleging financial irregularities and mismanagement in the sheriff's office, mistreatment and deaths of jail inmates and retaliation against the sheriff's critics.

In 2004, the New Times published Arpaio's home address in defiance of a state statute that bars news organizations from publishing home addresses of public officials if the information could pose a threat to their safety. The paper contended Arpaio was using the statute to hide his real estate assets.

Arpaio, claiming that he had received death threats as a result, sought to have Lacey and Larkin prosecuted. The case went nowhere for several years until then-Maricopa County attorney Andrew Thomas hired a special prosecutor in 2007. The prosecutor, Dennis Wilenchik, issued sweeping subpoenas seeking the identities of anyone who read the paper online, including information about what other sites they had visited before and after reading the New Times.

Lacey and Larkin responded with a front-page article on Oct. 18, 2007, that criticized the investigation and revealed the subpoenas' demands, calling them a "Breathtaking Abuse of the Constitution." They also noted the prosecutor had attempted to set up an improper private meeting with the judge overseeing the case.

Late that night, sheriff's deputies arrived at the two executive's homes, handcuffed them and booked them into separate jails on charges they had illegally disseminated grand jury information. When Lacey was asked by other inmates why he was in jail, he responded with one word: "writing."

The arrests prompted widespread criticism, and Lacey and Larkin were released the next day. Charges were dropped days later, and Wilenchik, the special prosecutor, was fired.

The arrests led to a prolonged court battle, with Lacey and Larkin suing Arpaio for violation of First Amendment rights and abuse of power. A series of decisions and appeals at the state and federal levels led to a 2012 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. That ruling said there was no probable cause for the arrests, and the subpoenas were invalid as the hand-picked prosecutor did not consult a grand jury and issued them without regard for due process.

The court condemned public officials' handling of the case, writing: "It is hard to conceive of a more direct assault on the First Amendment than public officials ordering the immediate arrests of their critics. And, in this case, there was nothing subtle about their efforts to stifle the New Times."

Promoting civil rights, free press

The appellate court's decision paved the way for a $3.75 million settlement paid to Lacey and Larkin by Maricopa County in 2013. The two subsequently established the "Frontera Fund" with the proceeds from the settlement to assist the Hispanic community, which has "borne the brunt of the racial animus and civil rights abuses in Arizona," Lacey said.

A dozen nonprofit groups have received money thus far for programs that advocate for migrants on both sides of the border and promote civil rights, human rights, immigrant rights, freedom of speech and civic participation. Beneficiaries have included Promise Arizona, Colibri Center for Human Rights, Center for Neighborhood Leadership, Puente, Raul H. Castro Institute of Phoenix College and Fundación México.

Christopher Callahan, dean of the Cronkite School, who issued a public statement shortly after Lacey and Larkin's arrests in 2007 calling the actions against the news executives "a grotesque and unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial powers" and "a frontal assault on the rights of citizens," said the endowment is a fitting reminder of the need for a free and unfettered press.

Callahan said the school will conduct a national search for the new Lacey-Larkin Chair and will launch the new Borderlands reporting program in the fall of 2015. The chair will be held by a journalist who has experience and expertise covering immigration and Latino issues, who is bilingual in Spanish and English and who can write and edit professionally in both languages.

The Cronkite School has long been a leader in borderlands and immigration coverage. The school offers students a specialization in coverage of Latino communities as part of its Southwest Borderlands Initiative program, led by Rodriguez, who takes his students each year on a trip to another country to report on border and immigration issues. Those projects have three times won the prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Award for reporting on social justice issues.

Marshall Terrill,
(602) 496-1005
ASU Office of Public Affairs



Note: Yet again, the driver's license is the primary ID for purchase of firearms.
As always, the issue is with Illegal immigrants, not legal.

Supreme Court denies Gov. Jan Brewer's stay, Dreamers to get driver's licenses
December 17, 2014 @ 11:08 am

PHOENIX -- Some illegal immigrants will be allowed to obtain driver's licenses in Arizona after the Supreme Court rejected a stay request from Gov. Jan Brewer on Wednesday.

The decision means the 20,000 young immigrants in Arizona who have received protection under President Barack Obama's policy can receive driver's licenses.

Earlier this month, Brewer asked the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to hold its ruling that blocked her policy of denying driver's licenses to young immigrants who have avoided deportation under an Obama administration policy. That hold was denied so Brewer appealed to the Supreme Court.

Governor-elect Doug Ducey said he would defer to Brewer's decision when it comes to the license policy.
"I've made my position clear on this, so I'm going to defer to Governor Brewer on this," Ducey said. "She's the governor at this time. We'll see what action she takes."

The 9th Circuit had ruled in July that there was no legitimate state interest in treating young immigrants who were granted deferred action on deportation differently from other noncitizens who could apply for licenses.

The panel suggested the policy was intended to express hostility toward the young immigrants.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014



Note: This one from a few days ago, but important. Infiltration of U.S, especially border states, law enforcement a factor in this? Infiltration yet another reason that citizen's many calls about drop houses, etc. receive no response?

Document missing in corruption case
by Jacques Billeaud, Associated Press
Posted on December 10, 2014 at 8:22 PM
Updated Thursday, Dec 11 at 7:40 AM

PHOENIX (AP) -- A key document is missing in the corruption case against three former sheriff's office employees accused of helping drug smugglers.

The three former officers for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office are accused of helping smuggle heroin from Mexico into metro Phoenix and launder its illegal proceeds through the bank accounts of two companies. One of the suspects was once a member of Arpaio's elite immigration squad.

The case relied heavily on a wiretap, but a document completed by investigators to secure the court-ordered surveillance has vanished, Herman Alcantar, an attorney for one of the former officers, told The Associated Press. In response, Alcantar has asked a judge to toss key evidence, and prosecutor Lindsey Coates told the defense attorney last month in an email that "the plan is to potentially dismiss this case entirely."

The key suspect, former Deputy Alfredo Aguirre Navarrette, could still face charges of insurance fraud and arson for allegedly causing a fire to a car in 2010.

Another prosecutor who has since been assigned to the case sent a follow-up email saying the search for the records continues and that the disappearance of the document is being taken seriously.

Alcantar, who represents Navarrette, said dismissing the case may seem like a legal technicality, but such documents by law enforcement are necessary to protect the public from abuse.

No explanation has been offered on how the document might have disappeared or who is responsible. The sheriff's office had no immediate comment Wednesday on the possibility of the case being dismissed.

The case has served as an embarrassment to Arpaio's office since the three employees were arrested in 2011. In addition, a judge presiding over an unrelated racial profiling case against the agency has grown increasingly frustrated over what he said were inadequate internal investigations into wrongdoing by the sheriff's immigrant smuggling squad.

Navarrette, a one-time member of the smuggling squad, is accused of driving smuggling vehicles, laundering money and using a police database to pass information along to ring members.

He also was accused of assisting a separate immigrant smuggling group by operating a stash house and transporting immigrants in the country illegally from Arizona to California on at least five occasions. Authorities say Navarrette, while out on bail, was pulled over while driving a suspected immigrant smuggling vehicle. He has been jailed since.

The internal investigation was launched in 2010 after a confidential informant told police that Navarrette was seen snorting cocaine and bragging about his work for the drug ring while at a party.

Former jail officers Marcella Marie Hernandez and Sylvia Rios Najera were accused of helping launder the ring's drug proceeds. Investigators say the Phoenix-based ring was operated by Francisco Arce Torres, who was working with a high-ranking Sinaloa drug cartel figure. Eleven people have already pleaded guilty in the case.

At the time of her arrest, Hernandez was pregnant with Torres' child.

Jerry Cobb, a spokesman for the Maricopa County attorney's office, which is prosecuting the three former sheriff's employees, declined to comment. A message left for Torres' attorney, Jason Squires, wasn't immediately returned Wednesday.

AP Newsbreak: Case against ex-officers in jeopardy

PHOENIX (AP) -- A corruption case against three former employees of an Arizona sheriff's office accused of helping drug smugglers while they worked for the agency is in danger of being thrown out after a key document in the case has turned up missing.

The three former officers for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office are accused of helping a ring that moved heroin from Mexico into metro Phoenix and laundered its illegal proceeds.

One of the former officers has asked a judge to toss the case after prosecutors revealed that a document completed by investigators as a condition of getting court authorization for the electronic recordings is missing.

A prosecutor then raised the possibility of throwing out nearly all of the case, though authorities are continuing to search for the document.

Read more:

Note: No we did not make this up. "within days"

Border fence knocked down by storm repaired
December 15, 2014 @ 6:54 pm

TUCSON, Ariz. — A section of the steel fence that divides the U.S. and Mexico has been repaired several months after debris from a rainstorm knocked it down.

U.S. Border Patrol spokeswoman Nicole Ballistrea says the repairs were completed Friday on the 60 feet of rebar-reinforced fencing just west of the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales, Arizona.

Agents discovered the downed fence in July after heavy rain in Nogales, Sonora, caused debris to build up against the fence, toppling it. The fence stood between 18 and 26 feet high and extended at least 7 feet underground.

The fence was built in 2011. It is constantly monitored by agents because smugglers and others who attempt to cross illegally routinely try to breach or knock down parts of it.

Ballistrea said the cost of the repairs was unavailable Monday.

The storm also sent debris through the fallen fence into Nogales, Arizona, damaging some homes and businesses.

Contractors hired by the Border Patrol could not begin repairs immediately because the ground remained wet for several weeks.

The fallen fence was discovered the same week agents found a garage-sized hole that had been cut into fencing near Nogales, Arizona.

That part of the fence was repaired within days, Ballistrea said.


Note: Didn't make this one up either.

Jeh Johnson: Deportation amnesty allows DHS to get serious about border
During an intense grilling session on Capitol Hill, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson

By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times - Updated: 8:40 a.m. on Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Monday that President Obama's deportation amnesty gives his department a chance to get serious about border security, freeing it up to put more resources on the border instead of tracking illegal immigrants inside the U.S.

In a statement prepared for delivery in Texas, where he was visiting a new detention facility, Mr. Johnson vowed to try to prevent a repeat of last summer, when tens of thousands of illegal immigrant children traveling alone, and tens of thousands more families traveling together, jumped the border, overwhelming his department.

He announced three new task forces he said will coordinate border control efforts across the three agencies that handle immigration, and said that should convince smugglers and would-be illegal immigrants not to try crossing.

"The message should be clear: As a result of our new emphasis on the security of the southern border, it will now be more likely that you will be apprehended; it will now be more likely that you will be detained and sent back; and it will now be more likely that your hard-earned money to smuggle a family member to the United States will be seized and will never reach its intended source," Mr. Johnson said.

His remarks did not address the 40 percent of illegal immigrants who are believed to come legally into the interior of the U.S. and then overstay their visas.

Mr. Johnson, a former defense department lawyer, will spearhead Mr. Obama's new amnesty, which carves most illegal immigrants out of any danger of deportation. Many of those illegal immigrants will be given proactive amnesty from deportation for three years and will be entitled to work permits as well.

The administration argues that its amnesty gives it a chance for a do-over, saying if agents don't have to focus on most illegal immigrants in the interior, they can target serious criminals and more recent illegal immigrants at the border.

Critics counter that by announcing an amnesty, Mr. Obama is inviting a new wave of illegal immigration — something Mr. Obama himself warned about a few years ago, when he declined to take the steps he's now taken.

Mr. Johnson testified to Congress earlier this month that he disagrees with that prediction and has vowed to step up border security to try to head off a new surge.

Read more:


Monday, December 15, 2014

AZMEX EXTRA 15-12-14


Note: A recent shootout with the army near Sonoyta, Son. recovered 3 AR15s, 2 AK clones, 4 handguns, 3 ballistic vests and several magazines. Evidently the vests didn't work?

Posted in Santa ana
Seize weapons on Highway 2
DEC 11 2014 HIT: 23
Written by Super User

Seize weapons on the highway

A total of 10 guns, 3 grenade launchers and 13 magazines were confiscated in federal Highway 2, section San Luis Río Colorado-Sonoyta.

It was in the military security post "Cucapah" of that location where a person, in a vehicle with a transport company logos was stopped.

This car was carrying eight handguns, two shotguns, 3 grenade launchers, 12 handgun magazines and 1 disk magazine.

The individual, vehicle and weapons were made available to the relevant ministerial authorities.


AZMEX LOCAL 15-12-14


More border blockages threatened
Used-car import restrictions
Protesters block the border into San Luis Rio Colorado, Son., recently in protest over newly imposed used-car import restrictions.

Posted: Sunday, December 14, 2014 9:04 pm

Posted on Dec 14, 2014by Amy Crawford

SAN LUIS, Ariz. — Protesters warn they will resume blockades at the border as soon as Wednesday unless Mexico's government responds to their demands to ease recently imposed restrictions and higher taxes on importations of used cars into that country.

On Dec. 8, dozens of people employed by used-car lots and related businesses in San Luis Rio Colorado, Son., gathered in vehicle lanes leading from the United States into that city, causing a traffic backup in San Luis, Ariz. Cars were also prevented from crossing from Mexico to the Arizona border city.
The blockade, which lasted about five hours, was one of a series of blockades at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexican border to protest the new rules that have been put in place by Mexico's Ministry of Finance and Public Credit to curb illegal imports.

Following what they described as a fruitless meeting with Mexican customs officials in Mexicali, the day after the blockade, protesters said they are waiting until Tuesday for a response from Finance Minister Luis Videragaray, after which they are prepared to resume the blockades.
"They don't leave us any option other than to apply pressure in this manner and to take other measures, if they don't respond to us," said Francisco Martinez Antelo, who heads an association of public transit drivers in San Luis Rio Colorado who oppose the rules.

Opponents of the new regulations hope that by shutting down the border, they can pressure the government into acceding to their demands.
He said protesters are prepared to resume the blockade at San Luis as early as Wednesday, although a decision on when has not been made.

"We know that they're people for whom (the blockades) cause inconveniences," Martinez said. "We ask that they understand us and support us, because it's not just those of us who import vehicles who are affected by the government. The livelihoods of many families and the economy of the region also also affected, because there will be losses on the other side of the border if the importations are stopped."
The new regulations were announced in September and recently took effect, and protesters say they have hurt not only used car dealers in Mexican border cities, but mechanics, car upholsterers, air conditioning businesses and others employed in the used vehicle market.

"It used to be that 15 vehicles were imported in San Luis each day," said Martinez. "Now none are coming across."
Nearly 600 used cars were being brought across each day through ports in neighboring Baja California, said Alberto Guzman, a car dealer in San Luis Rio Colorado. With the new restrictions, he said, that number has dropped to fewer than 70.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

AZMEX EXTRA 25-11-14


Note: First two of local interest in Sonora. (computer english) Sonoyta across the fence from Lukeville, AZ

Posted November 22, 2014, 3:13 a.m.
Confiscated arsenal in "San Emeterio"
The tractor and trailer were secured by military and Customs personnel in Sonoyta.
They were transferred to Michoacan when detected by the military
Sonoyta, Sonora - Nuevo Dia

An arsenal of eight machine guns(rifles) and five pistols on the way to the State of Michoacan, was secured by a Customs officer at the port of Sonoyta.
According to official reports, military personnel at the Customs POE of "San Emeterio", in coordination with staff of the Tax Administration secured the weapons hidden in a truck from Tijuana and was headed to Uruapan, Michoacán.

Officers detected irregularities, so a thorough review was conducted, ensuring eight rifles, four of which were of 5.56 mm, three from 7.62 x 51 mm, and one of 7.62 x 39 mm. In addition to five pistols, two 9mm, a .40 caliber and a .45 inch caliber.
In the hidden compartments, officers found 33 magazines for different weapons five scopes, grips and holster.

In the operation arrested the driver, whose identity was not disclosed and seized the vehicle.
The arrested and items were made available to the Federal Public Ministry of the municipality of General Plutarco Elias Calles, was reported.


Take weapons and vehicles in raid on the Embarcadero
Details Published on Tuesday November 25, 2014,
Written by Cesar Barragan / El Diario

Weapons, drugs and two vehicles were seized from inside a house in the Embarcadero colony, during a raid conducted by members of the Mexican Army and PGR personnel of the border.
Official reports indicate that on Friday afternoon that military personnel of the 45th Zone arrived at the Río Conchos number 277 near the corner of Calle Puerto Veracruz, said colony where they secured the property.
It was until yesterday a Federal Public Ministry in coordination with ministerial and military staff officers, entered the building where they located several packages with drugs.
They were also secured several guns of various calibers, cartridges and two vehicles, a wagon Jeep Cherokee Expedition black color and white van, two cars of late models.
After two hours of activity within the home, the authorities referred pulled cars, weapons and drugs, to seal the doors, leaving military custody, the matter was made available to the federal prosecutor in charge.


Note: From the capitol, as with most other countries, the "gun laws" do not usually apply to the ruling class.

three bodyguards of Angel Aguirre arrested with prohibited weapons
They were arrested while transporting in a SUV assault rifles and pistols exclusive use of the Armed Forces
11/25/2014 7:56 Drafting
The weapons seized from the three bodyguards assumptions

MEXICO CITY, 25 November.- Three escorts of former governor of Guerrero Angel Aguirre were arrested in Mexico City with weapons including assault rifles and other weapons for the exclusive use of the Armed Forces.

The arrest was carried out as policemen Ministry of Public Security thanks to a citizen complaint that warned of the presence of a white van with armed men in southern Mexico City.

2 assault rifles AR-15; 2 pistol Pietro Beretta 9 mm caliber and a Galil rifle guards carried

The Guerrero state policemen did not carry the craft of collaboration that allows them the carrying of weapons in the Federal District.

Reports of the Attorney General of the Federal District (PGJDF) establish that the persons mentioned were arrested on Sunday in the San Jerónimo, colony Tizapán San Angelo, aboard a Jeep Grand Cherokee white.

After the citizen complaint, dispatchers of the Control Center and Command C2 Poniente detected the presence of the suspect vehicle, carrying plates 714 ZAC and tinted windows, so they ordered the soldiers to practice a preventive review .

The capital police reached the van on Guerrero and ordered off the occupants, who were identified with government plates as Romero Guerrero Fajardo Rueda; Rebollar Edgar Benitez and Mario Sebastián González Reyes, members of the Security Coordination Air Transport, a group created in 2005 by the then governor of Guerrero Zeferino Torreblanca.

The arrested today in the van carrying two assault rifles AR-15; Pietro Beretta pistols caliber 9 mm and Galil rifle brand. They were taken to the Public Ministry of Álvaro Obregón 4, to determine responsibilities.

The three men told the prosecutor that the ex governor, Angel Aguirre Rivero ordered them pick up a friend in the area.

Aguirre Rivero requested leave from his post as governor of Guerrero on 24 October, to social pressure for the disappearance of 43 students of the Normal Rural School "Raúl Isidro Burgos" Ayotzinapa, on 26 September in the city of Iguala .

So far the ex governor has not declared to the authorities investigating the disappearance of the normal school.


Saturday, December 13, 2014



The correct date is January 13, 2015 rpt January 13, 2015

Sorry for the wrong date




Note: very late notice 6:30 pm AZ time Sat. Dec 13

All Arizona TV stations to simulcast ASU-produced special report on heroin


Fri, 12/12/2014 - 3:42pm

PHOENIX — In a highly unusual collaboration, every broadcast TV station and most radio outlets across Arizona will air simultaneously a 30-minute commercial-free investigative report produced by Arizona State University student journalists on the growing perils of heroin and opioid use.

Teams of advanced journalism students at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication also will produce packages of digital stories and data analyses available on the Web, an accompanying mobile tablet app, and Spanish-language and radio versions of the documentary.

The statewide simulcast of "Hooked: Tracking Heroin's Hold on Arizona" will air Jan. 13 on the 32 TV stations in Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma and most of the state's radio stations. The air time will be 6:30 p.m. on most stations.

Art Brooks, president and chief executive officer of the Arizona Broadcasters Association, developed the idea after learning of the seriousness of the issue and organized the backing of the state's broadcast industry.

"The scourge of heroin and opioid addiction is killing hundreds of Arizonans, and the growing problem is reaching epidemic levels," Brooks said. "Broadcast stations are fiercely competitive, but our industry leaders are bonding together on this public danger in order to save lives."

During and after the telecast, the ABA will sponsor a call center for viewers seeking counseling or more information on heroin and opioid addiction. A 100-phone center with trained counselors will be set up in the studios of Arizona PBS on the sixth floor of the Cronkite Building on ASU's Downtown Phoenix campus.
Gordon Smith, president and chief executive officer of the National Association of Broadcasters, lauded the Arizona initiative.

"It is nothing short of extraordinary to have every TV broadcaster in a state come together and jointly agree to air — commercial free in a widely viewed time slot — an important piece of public service journalism," said Smith, a former U.S. senator from Oregon who leads the trade association of the nation's TV and radio broadcasters.

"It is a testament to the greater leadership of the Arizona Broadcasters Association and the general managers across the state and their tremendous commitment to their communities," Smith said. "I have no doubt that the Cronkite heroin project will make a real impact on this critical public health issue and save lives."

The Arizona Broadcasters Association championed a similar project in 2008. That special report, which focused on crystal meth in Arizona, was produced by an out-of-state company. Brooks said the Arizona general managers would only agree to donate their airtime again if the new project was produced by the Cronkite School.

"The ABA and the leaders of Arizona's broadcast stations have great confidence in the Cronkite School's students and faculty and their ability to produce a powerful, objective and informative 30-minute TV special that we will be proud to air on all of our stations," said Brooks, a member of the Cronkite Endowment Board of Trustees.

Cronkite is devoting eight faculty members and 70 students to the semester-long project.

"We are activating the full resources of the Cronkite School for this critically important project," said Dean Christopher Callahan. "It is a great testament to our fantastic students and professors that the state's broadcast industry has such faith in their work and abilities."

The special TV report is spearheaded by a team of students led by Jacquee Petchel, a Cronkite professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and editor.

Another Pulitzer winner, Knight Chair Steve Doig, is leading a team of students who are analyzing data on more than 10 million Arizona hospital emergency room cases, including more than 2,000 heroin overdoses, as well as census demographics to pinpoint the patterns and hot spots of heroin abuse.

The Cronkite News bureau in Phoenix, led by Steve Elliott, a Cronkite professor and former Associated Press bureau chief in Phoenix, is producing a series of multimedia stories for the Web that will be available to all media outlets.

The New Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab, directed by Retha Hill, former vice president of Black Entertainment Television and a digital media pioneer, is creating a tablet app on the history of heroin.

The Cronkite Public Insight Network Bureau, led by veteran public radio journalist Rebecca Blatt, is deploying the network to locate sources not previously tapped by journalists.

Associate Professor Fran Matera and students in the Cronkite Public Relations Lab are producing a strategic communications plan for the TV special. The Arizona Newspapers Association is encouraging newspapers across the state to run promotional ads for the special report.

The TV stations in the Tucson area committed to the simulcast include: KVOA-TV (NBC), KGUN-TV (ABC), KOLD-TV (CBS), KHRR-TV (Telemundo), KUAT-TV (PBS)/ KUAS-TV (University of Arizona), KMSB-TV (FOX) and KTTU-TV (MyTV).


Friday, December 12, 2014



Note: Coming to your neighborhood? Good article.

Gangs omnipresent in Honduran schools, selling sex and intimidating teachers
Published December 08, 2014
Associated Press

In this photo Nov. 28, 2014 photo, a member of Hondura's Military Police, stands guard at the entrance of a school, during the last day of class, in the Canaan neighborhood of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Street gangs control most schools in Tegucigalpa, where a lot of the students are gangsters, along with their parents. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix) (The Associated Press)

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – In primary and secondary schools of this Central American capital, "hallway" is not just another word for corridor but slang for a gantlet of gangsters who hit up instructors for money on the way to the classroom.

Teachers who don't pay, don't teach.

Gang prevention police distribute US-funded pamphlets on manners and anger management in about two thirds of the 130 public schools of Tegucigalpa. Gang members, meanwhile, circulate catalogues of their girls offering sexual services for sale.

It can't exactly be said that street gangs are recruiting in Honduran schools because gangs in Honduras don't need to recruit. In a country of limited opportunities, more schoolchildren want to join the violent Mara Salvatrucha, 18th Street and other newly formed gangs than the illegal bands can absorb.

What can be said is that, just as they control most of the neighborhoods of Tegucigalpa, street gangs rule over most public schools in the capital. Gangsters are students and students are gangsters, as are some of their parents. The gangs lay claim to buildings with graffiti, and monitor the movements of police who are trying to monitor them. When the government sends in the military to control a neighborhood and its schools, the ruling gang may lay low for a time, but they can't stay quiet for long or competitors will move in, setting off a wave of violence.

"The schools are a base of organization for the gangs, and the point through which all children in the neighborhood pass," said Lt. Col. Santos Nolasco, spokesman for the joint military and police force in charge of security in the country of 8.2 million people.

Gangs rely on kids to do much of their illegal grunt work, knowing that even if they get caught, they won't face long jail sentences. More than a third of the estimated 5,000 gang members with criminal charges against in 2010 them were under 15-years old, according to a 2010 study, the only study that examines age in gangs. This year, police say they have detained more than 400 minors for gang activity, including some as young as 12 years old.

Poorly educated students may have to repeat a grade several times before passing exams, and police say some gangsters intentionally repeat years just to hold onto illegal operations in a school — their means of making a living. As a result, kids between the ages of 11 and 17 may be in the same class.

While most gang violence takes place outside of school, there have been rapes and kidnappings inside, and extortion is rampant. In addition to setting up the occasional gauntlet, where a teacher has to cough up pocket money on the spot, gangs demand that educators pay 1,000 lempiras or about $50 a month, more than 10 percent of their salary.

"The extortion takes place through the school director, " said Liliana Ruiz, the Ministry of Education's director for Tegucigalpa. "They make an appointment with the director at the mall and he has to arrive with the money. In Honduras, the extortion has to be paid."

In many schools, the power of the gangs is omnipresent and once a gang takes control of a school, Ruiz said, the teacher has no choice. In many schools, a teacher has no choice but to get along with the gangsters, or ask to be moved. If a gang grabs a child from a classroom, most teachers know to keep quiet, even if the student is never heard from again.

"The fear is indescribable ... because these children are capable of anything," Ruiz said. "It is a climate of shocking desperation."

Yojana Corrales, a police officer with the capital's gang prevention unit, stops to speak with neighbors outside of El Sitio school for grades one through nine in northern Tegucigalpa, and immediately draws the attention of gangsters. One pulls up on a motorcycle, another on a bicycle, both carrying two-way radios, and they eavesdrop on her conversation.

"They're just checking up on what we're doing," Corrales explained.

With 15 years on gang details, Corrales is used to the scrutiny.

"We'll go into a school to hand out manuals and the gang will come in, take one and start reviewing it in front of us. They control what is said to the children," she said.

The front of the Jose Ramon Montoya Institute in eastern Tegucigalpa is painted with MS-13 graffiti, tags of the Mara Salvatrucha. Until recently, dozens of gangsters controlled the second floor of this primary and secondary school, using it as a base to sell drugs and organize girls into prostitution.

"They begin with a photo in the halls of the school. Afterward, they take her to a mall to buy her clothes. They give her a cellphone and pay for beauty treatments. If the girls want to get out of this, they're indebted for services rendered and receive threats," said Corrales.

The attraction for the girls, however, is that a 14-year-old can earn $500 a month in prostitution — more than a police officer's salary, Corrales says.

Last year, three students became pregnant after they were raped on the second floor of Montoya, according to a teacher. At the start of the new school year, officials called for protection, but when police tried to take control of the school, gangsters threw furniture at them from the second floor. Police then took a softer approach — stationing officers at every door to keep a close eye on students. The gangsters retreated.

For the time being, authorities are back in control of Montoya, including the newly repainted second floor.

"We painted the walls inside the school three weeks ago. They'll come put their tags on them again, and we will paint them again," said teacher Marcio Pastrana. It is a routine he knows well after 35 years at the school.

"There are more good kids than bad," Pastrana reflected. "We do everything humanly possible, but the problem isn't in school, it's in society."

Only about a third of Honduran school children live with two parents, according to administrators. Many of their parents have headed north to look for work in the United States, while others have been killed or simply left the household. Many students don't have enough to eat, or work for several hours before and after school to help support their families. They are surrounded by violence in a country with the world's highest homicide rate.

A majority of Honduran children see a limited future for themselves: work as a laborer, a taxi driver or perhaps as a bus conductor, collecting coins from passengers and earning far less than they might by selling drugs or wielding a gun for the gangs.

Many children leave Honduras out of fear or in search of opportunity in the United States, often long before they finish school. The school districts do not have global dropout numbers, but U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it apprehended 18,244 unaccompanied Honduran children in fiscal year 2014, up dramatically from the previous year, after rumors circulated that they were being allowed to enter the country.

School administrators say that teachers generally are more afraid of the gangs than the remaining students are, because so many children admire gangsters. In their eyes, the children of gang members are made, and in some neighborhoods, the offspring of two gang members, known as the "pure ones," are royalty. The gangs look for new members who have something to offer them: beauty, bravery or perhaps an empty house.

"An 11-year-old mentions at school that his grandmother has died and he can get the keys to the house that is empty," said Corrales. "The gang grabs the house and begins to use it, and that child doesn't get out of the gang."

Teachers, administrators and police acknowledge that the government's efforts to protect schools with military police and gang prevention programs are not yielding measurable results.

After the leader of a drug gang at the Republic of Panama School in the Buenos Aires neighborhood was killed in September, 20 gangsters were detained and their mates warned of reprisals. Thirty military police were deployed to provide protection, said Lt. Col. Nolasco. The result of the arrests, said a group of 11- to 14-year-olds, speaking on condition of anonymity, was more danger as another gang tried to muscle in.

"The situation is more complicated now," said a student.

Corrales, the gang prevention officer, arrived at the La Hera school in the northern neighborhood by the same name, on a recent afternoon to distribute her prevention handbooks and meet with the kids. Before she even got out of her pick-up truck, however, a group of children climbed into the back and put their hands behind their heads, mimicking detained gang members.

"This is the image of the gang leader," Corrales said. "The detainee is a somebody in the barrio, and those kids want to be a somebody."


Thursday, December 11, 2014

AZMEX I3 11-12-14

AZMEX I3 11 DEC 2014

Note: Despite the wording of the headline, the victim and scum of the earth "coyote" were in the U.S. illegally.

Migrant sex assault case heading to trial
Mancinas Flores
Jose Ramon Mancinas Flores listens during a hearing Monday at Santa Cruz County Superior Court to dismiss the charges against him. He is accused of two counts of sexual conduct with a minor under the age of 15. The charges stem from alleged assaults during a nine-day illegal border-crossing attempt in December 2013.

Posted: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 3:05 pm | Updated: 3:07 pm, Wed Dec 10, 2014.
By Curt Prendergast
Nogales International

A Mexican man accused of raping a 14-year-old girl during an illegal border-crossing attempt is headed to trial after a Superior Court judge on Monday denied a defense attorney's motion to dismiss the charges.

If convicted at the four-day trial scheduled to start Jan. 27, Jose Ramon Mancinas Flores, 23, faces between 26 and 54 years in prison on two counts of sexual conduct with a minor under the age of 15. The charges stem from an incident in December 2013 in which the girl accused Mancinas of the assaults after Border Patrol agents arrested their nine-member migrant group west of Nogales.

During a Monday hearing at Superior Court, Judge Thomas Fink rejected a motion by defense lawyer James Miller to dismiss the charges after Miller raised the question of whether the alleged assaults occurred south of the border, and therefore outside the court's jurisdiction.

"He has no defense. It's clear he did have sex with a minor. DNA results show that it was him," Miller said. "The question becomes: Where did it happen?"

Border Patrol agents arrested the migrant group on Dec. 17, 2013 near Arivaca Road. After the alleged victim told agents Mancinas sexually assaulted her, Mancinas was turned over to the County Sheriff's Office and has remained at the county jail. The other members of the group were deported.

The witnesses gave videotaped statements, but were not available for cross-examination before they were deported, Miller said. In addition, some of the group members spoke indigenous languages and appeared to be "scared of the federal investigators."

"I would've liked to have had a chance to talk with them," he said, adding he might have seemed "less threatening" to the witnesses.
Miller acknowledged Mancinas told authorities he had sex with the girl while in the United States. However, Mancinas told investigators "what he thought they wanted to hear," Miller said. Mancinas later told Miller he believes the incidents occurred in Mexico.

In his statement to authorities, Mancinas said he had sex with the victim for the first time on Dec. 14, five days after crossing the border, said Deputy County Attorney Liliana Ortega. He then said the only time he had sex with the girl was on Dec. 15 and 16.

Not plausible
Fink noted the witnesses' statements "generally agreed" that the cross-border trek took about nine days and both the victim and the defendant said the alleged assaults occurred on the last few days of the trek.
"What plausible evidence can you point to that shows that some witness or witnesses would have testimony that would contradict that?" Fink asked.

The testimony of the witnesses may not contradict the victim's statement, but in their interviews they were not asked about the specific days when they saw the assaults, Miller said.
"They were just asked what they had observed during that period of time," he said.

If the witnesses' testimony could create a reasonable doubt on just one of the charges, it would shave at least 13 years – the minimum sentence for each of the charges – from Mancinas' potential prison term, Miller said. "It would be huge."

In her argument, Ortega cast doubt on Miller's claim that he was not able to develop a defense.
"I think that goes more towards speculation that something favorable might come up," she said. "Certainly, the standard here is not speculation."

"The issue is not whether the witnesses could have or might have provided something favorable to the defense," she said. "The showing has to be made that it's material to the defense or that it's favorable to the defense."

In his ruling, Fink said Miller "has not made a plausible showing that their testimony would have been favorable to the defense."

Instead, the witnesses "generally support" the victim's statement, which is also consistent with the statement made by the defendant, who is the most likely to know when the group crossed into the United States, Fink said.

On Oct. 13, Fink rejected a plea agreement between Mancinas and the County Attorney's Office that would have put Mancinas in prison for between five and 10 years. Fink said the 10-year cap was "unduly low and restricts the court's discretion."

Ortega summarized the statements of the seven witnesses, using their first names and in some cases their ages.

A woman named Yolanda said the cross-border trek began on Dec. 9 and lasted nine days, Ortega said. The group crossed through mountains on the fourth day, which left them with five days of walking in the United States. Yolanda reported the assaults started three nights before the arrest on Dec. 17.

A man named Abelino reported the group walked for eight days, including five days of walking in Mexico before they crossed the border. "He noticed a difference in her (the victim) after the third day," Ortega quoted Abelino as saying.

Abelino did not report seeing the assaults, nor did any other member of the group, Ortega said. However, a man named Jesus reported hearing an encounter between the victim and Mancinas in the days before the Dec. 17 arrest.

"He said that he heard the day before and the day before that, he heard what sounded like the defendant taking the clothes off of the victim and the victim saying 'No,'" Ortega said.

Jesus said he was sure the group crossed the border on Dec. 13, Ortega said.
Elias, 17, said the trek lasted nine days, but he did not report seeing or knowing anything about the alleged assaults. He also said "he had no reason to fear the defendant," Ortega said.

Cesar, 16, reported the trek lasted eight days. Like Elias, he said he did not see or know anything about the alleged assaults, Ortega said. Rosa, 17, provided little information.
"There's nothing in any of their statements that would show they have anything favorable to the defense as far as a jurisdictional issue," Ortega said, noting Arivaca Road is located near the northern boundary of Santa Cruz County.

In his argument, Miller expressed his frustration that the federal government deported the witnesses.
"I do not understand why the federal government, in state cases, deports these witnesses. They just deport everybody," Miller said.

By contrast, in federal cases, "they don't just deport them. They give all the attorneys a chance to interview all these witnesses," he said.
Fink asked Ortega to "flesh out the events so we have a record" showing when the witnesses were deported, but Ortega said she did not know what federal agencies did prior to referring the case to the County Attorney's Office.

During the hearing, both Fink and Ortega said a "better practice" would to hold the witnesses for the prosecuting agency.

"Now, we are making those inquiries," Ortega said.
"We have started these discussions with federal agencies," she said, adding on at least one occasion the agencies have been willing to hold witnesses.