Wednesday, August 19, 2015



Note:  So "permanent residents" cannot be deported?

Sheriff Paul Babeu blasts ICE release of 3 violent criminals staff
4:14 PM, Aug 18, 2015
2 hours ago

FLORENCE, AZ - Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu is speaking out about the Immigration and Customs Enforcement release of three convicted criminals into Arizona.

Babeu said a new notification system from the federal agency debuted Tuesday, alerting officials to the release of the three men – two of who are in the country illegally, the other is a permanent resident.

Musa Salah Abdelaziz Abdalla of Sudan, Dennis Valerievitch Tsoukanov of Russia, and Nasser Hanna Hermez of Iraq were all freed in Arizona within the last month, Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot said.

Abdalla pleaded guilty to a baseball bat beating in Phoenix and, after violating probation, was sentenced to three years in prison.  He was released late last month.  Tsoukanov was convicted of second-degree murder in connection with the 2001 death of a man who was stabbed, doused with gasoline, and burned alive.  He was released in July 2014.  ICE took custody of him, then released him last month, Babeu said.  Hermez pleaded guilty to negligent homicide after the 2009 death of his 7-week-old daughter. 

ICE said Abdalla and Tsoukanov had to be released because the agency could not locate travel documents proving the men's citizenship in their respective countries. Hermez is "a lawful permanent resident whose current conviction record does not make him legally removable," according to ICE officials.

In a Tuesday release from Babeu and Wilmot, the sheriffs said while they appreciate the launch of the notification system, the alerts don't address the core problem of the criminals remaining in America.

"You don't have to be the Sheriff or a uniformed patrol deputy to realize that these dangerous criminals will reoffend and victimize our Arizona families," the release stated.

"To be clear, the backgrounds of the individuals in question would generally make them enforcement priorities for ICE," the agency said. "However, ICE has no legal basis for continuing to hold these individuals."



State lawmaker: AZ has collected $300,000 for border fence
Posted: Aug 18, 2015 4:02 AM CEST
Updated: Aug 18, 2015 4:29 AM CEST
By Christina EstesCONNECT

The official Build the Border Fence website lists nearly 4,100 donors . (Source:

While GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump is calling on Mexico to pay for a border wall through higher visa and border crossing fees, Arizona has been collecting cash to build its own border fence. Four years after launching a private donation campaign, Sen. Steve Smith, R, District 11, says Arizonans will soon see action.

"The intention all along is to hopefully shame the federal government into doing their job," he told us.

In 2011, Smith successfully pushed legislation to allow the state to build a fence through private donations with the permission of property owners. While the official Build the Border Fence website lists nearly 4,100 donors contributing nearly $194,000, Smith said donations by mail push the total to around $300,000. He said defense contractors have told him that's enough money to build a stretch of 5 to 10 miles.

"It's a great pilot project starting point," he said. "There absolutely are along the border tracts of state and private land that we've identified as being lucrative places to start."

Smith says the Joint Border Security Advisory Committee, which includes lawmakers, border sheriffs and agency directors appointed by the governor, will meet in the next few weeks and likely hear presentations about the best places to build. 

Smith said all donations are in a state trust and can only be used on border projects that the committee approves.

Posted: Aug 19, 2015 6:54 AM CEST
Updated: Aug 19, 2015 7:09 AM CEST
By Jonathan LoweCONNECT

The Mesa Police Department said it rescued two victims of child sex trafficking. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)

"Child escorts, human traffickers, and men looking online for sex with underage girls." 

The Mesa Police Department says its investigators encountered it all in their latest operation to crack down on human trafficking.

So far, investigators have only been able to arrest "johns" for having sex with underage victims of human trafficking in Mesa. But MPD said thanks to this latest effort, they are also now investigating three actual traffickers whom detectives believe are making money off of exploiting victims in Mesa.

MPD announced Tuesday that its nearly yearlong Project Blue Heat was not reactive law enforcement, but rather took a proactive approach.
"The primary [focus[ is to find those that are financially gaining from the sex trafficking," Mesa Police Assistant Chief Mike Dvorak said.

They also were determined to find anyone looking specifically to have sex with underage victims.
"Seven suspects were arrested for child prostitution," Dvorak said. 

The Mesa Police Department identified them as Miguel David Diego, 27; Aaron Roque, 44; Robert Lopez, 42; Levi Christopher Busby, 30; Jose Ortega-Duran, 30; Douglas F. Weryackwe, 39; and Simon R. Flores, 27.

Of high importance to the investigators, however, was rescuing children in situations of trafficking, which is exactly what they did.   "We intervened on two juveniles and were able to rescue them," Dvorak explained.

Police said Project Blue Heat put them hot on the trail of those exploiting women and children.

"We're well past the days where we can have buyers say, 'Oh, I just thought I was having sex. I didn't know how old she was,'" said Sgt. Dominick Kaufman, who led the specialized team on Project Blue Heat. "Well then shame on you. You should find out."

Ultimately, there's a whole new approach to fighting human trafficking in Mesa.
"We can charge buyers with the same statute that we charge traffickers," Kaufman added.

The Mesa Police Department got a $121,000 grant from the Hickey Family Foundation for Project Blue Heat. That provided overtime funding so that investigators on the operation weren't diverted to other cases; they focused exclusively on Blue Heat.


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