Sunday, November 1, 2015



Operation targets drug trafficking on reservation
Posted: Friday, October 30, 2015 9:08 am

PHOENIX — Federal officials have announced a joint law enforcement operation targeting drug trafficking on an American Indian reservation in western Arizona.
The U.S. Attorney's Office announced Thursday that a federal grand jury indicted 17 people in the investigation focused on the Colorado River Indian Tribes' reservation.

The investigation was led by a task force that includes the La Paz County Sheriff's Office, the U.S. Border Patrol, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Colorado River Indian Tribes Police Department. The Bureau of Indian Affairs, the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Parker Police Department assisted the investigation.


Oct 30, 5:41 PM EDT
Report: Border agents used stun guns on fleeing suspects

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- U.S. border authorities fired stun guns at least 70 times over four years at people who were running away, even though there was no struggle or clear indication that agents were in danger, a newspaper reported Friday.

At least six times, agents used the weapons against people who were trying to climb a border fence and get back into Mexico.

The Los Angeles Times ( ) also said three people had died after being hit by Tasers wielded by border agents or customs officers.

Two people were shocked while they were handcuffed, and two were hit with five cycles of the weapon, even though the agency's policy says no one should receive more than three.

The Times examined 450 uses of Tasers from 2010 to 2013 that were documented by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.

It found that most of the people subjected to Tasers had been caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border or were suspected of being in the country illegally, not fleeing arrest on more serious charges.

The nation's largest law enforcement agency, which oversees the Border Patrol and inspectors at ports of entry, decided in 2008 to supply agents with the hand-held devices that deliver a paralyzing electric charge as a way to end confrontations quickly and safely.

The program started with a pilot project in Texas and devices were widely distributed to agents beginning in 2010.

Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske issued a new use-of-force policy last year. Now, agents are instructed to use Tasers only when a suspect poses an imminent threat and to be particularly cautious when subjects are running.

The Border Patrol and other law enforcement agencies have become more restrained in using Tasers, Kerlikowske said, even though he still believes "the good far outweighs the bad" with the weapons.

"You're seeing much less of the Taser being used when someone is in a precarious position, or fleeing," said Kerlikowske, a former police chief in Seattle. "I think we've learned a lot, and so has law enforcement."


Note: "no way to turnaround and return to Nogales, Arizona."

Former Customs agent rearrested trying to flee country
Bruce Whetten/Douglas Dispatch
Updated Oct 29, 2015

A former U.S. Customs agent who was arrested in April and was out on bail was rearrested on Wednesday, Oct. 21 as he attempted to leave the United States through the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry in Nogales.

Johnny G. Acosta was indicted in a multi-count felony indictment charging him with conspiracy to smuggle marijuana into the United States through the Douglas, Arizona Port of Entry, and related drug distribution charges on April 22.

At the time of the indictment, Acosta was a law enforcement officer with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection assigned to inspect incoming pedestrians and vehicles at the Douglas Port of Entry. Acosta was arrested on a warrant issued on the indictment, and was released pending trial in the case by U.S. Magistrate D. Thomas Ferraro, on April 28 after he posted bond. One of the conditions of his release was that he shall not travel outside of Arizona unless court permission was granted.

On Oct. 20 the FBI's Cochise Border Corruption Task Force (BCTF) received information that Acosta had plans to flee the United States into Mexico on Oct. 21 in order to avoid prosecution on the indictment.

Court records show that a change of plea had been scheduled by Acosta's counsel for Nov. 3 at which time Acosta was going to enter a guilty plea to some of the charges.

On Oct. 21 the BCTF conducted surveillance on Acosta at his residence in Douglas consistent with the tip that he was scheduled to flee the country.

The surveillance team observed Acosta, who was passenger in a Ford Expedition, traveling from Douglas to the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry in Nogales.

The driver of the Expedition entered the Port of Entry at approximately 10 p.m., in a lane committed to entering Mexico and was marked with signs indicating that fact. There was no other destination in that lane but Nogales, Sonora and there was no way to turnaround and return to Nogales, Arizona.

Law enforcement agents stopped the Expedition several feet from the actual International Border Line with Mexico and Acosta was placed under arrest for fleeing the United States to avoid prosecution, having traveled in foreign commerce in that he came to the International Border with the intention to cross into Mexico.

Court documents show that Acosta had not been granted permission to enter Mexico.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Wally Kleindienst said Acosta remains in federal custody and is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 10 a.m. at which time he is scheduled to plead guilty to several of the 34 counts he's been charged with.

Just how many of the counts Acosta will plead guilty to has not yet been determined, Kleindienst added.

Acosta was one of five people indicted on numerous drug charges. Andres Rodriguez and Jorge Tovar are scheduled to go to trial in December.

Tovar, who resides in Agua Prieta, has been given special permission by the courts to travel to Agua Prieta beginning Oct. 9 through Jan. 31, 2016 to complete a religious seminar for healing and reconciliation at the Parroquia Sagrada Famila, Holy Family Parish.

There are also two other unnamed defendants that have yet to be identified and are still listed as unnamed.


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