Monday, February 27, 2017



Border Patrol agent struck by SUV later found to contain pot

Border Patrol agents arrested two Mexican citizens and seized 93 pounds of marijuana found in an SUV which earlier struck an agent who was approaching the vehicle on a highway south of Sierra Vista.

The Border Patrol said an agent was struck on a leg by the SUV after the woman driving it accelerated Thursday as agents approached on foot on Highway 92 near Palominas close to the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Border Patrol says the driver and a male passenger were apprehended separately several hours later and that the SUV was located Friday near Hereford, which is about five miles from Palominas.
The Boder Patrol says the SUV contained four bundles of marijuana.

The injured agent was released after treatment at a hospital for unspecified injuries.
Identities weren't released.


Man arrested for two homicides two hours apart
Mac Colson
6:18 PM, Feb 23, 2017
4:50 AM, Feb 24, 2017

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A man has been arrested in connection with two homicides that happened within two and a half hours of each other on February 20.

Authorities arrested 30-year-old Roque Gutierrez for the murder of 37-year-old Saul Saucedo-Zavala in the Pima County Sheriffs Department jurisdiction.

That homicide happened around 12p.m. in the 10400 block of South Epperson Lane.
Two and half hours later, Tucson Police Department officers responded to a homicide in the 5200 block of South Fletcher just after 2:30 p.m.

The victim in the TPD case was 35-year-old Eulises Echevarria.

Gutierrez is being held on a $1,000,000 cash bond.


Note: traffic backed up for miles.

2 die in NM wreck of vehicle fleeing Border Patrol
The Associated Press 9:22 a.m. MT Feb. 24, 2017

LORDSBURG - New Mexico authorities say two people died after being ejected from a car that struck a road sign, entered a highway median and overturned several times while fleeing from U.S. Border Patrol agents.

State Police said the wreck occurred Thursday on Interstate 10 between Lordsburg and Deming in southwestern New Mexico.

The eastbound car's third occupant was injured and airlifted to a hospital in El Paso.

No information was released on the injured person's condition, and the State Police said identities of those involved were being withheld and that no additional information was immediately available.


Rumors swirl about searches, harassment at border
By Kendal Blust
Nogales International 15 hrs ago (1)

Phones searched, social media reviewed, passwords requested, electronic devices seized, visas revoked: Rumors and reports of intensified revisions at U.S. ports of entry under the Trump administration are spreading among people living in the border region.

Those rumors have caused not only fear, but also behavior changes for some border-crossers, according to Miguel Leyva, a shuttle driver who walks through the port of entry from Nogales, Sonora to Arizona daily.

"Trump has caused a lot of uncertainty. I know people who won't cross the border any more," he said. "I have friends with permanent residency who are afraid their paperwork will be taken away if they go back and forth."

Leyva, on the other hand, doesn't believe what he's heard about increased searches, he said, because he hasn't seen it.

Despite rumors in the community and recent reports of customs officers asking for access to people's phones and even social media at some U.S. airports and border crossings, U.S. Customs and Border Protection representatives say there has been no change in existing policy and civil rights lawyers say they haven't seen evidence of a recent uptick in invasions of privacy at local ports.

But while the American Civil Liberties Union has not received any reports of incidents involving passwords being requested or social media being searched at Arizona border-crossings, that doesn't mean they haven't occurred, said Steve Kilar, communications director for the ACLU of Arizona.

The NI has heard stories of people having their phones searched and taken away at local ports, but attempts to validate those claims have led to poorly sourced internet stories or third- and fourth-hand accounts. Still, the rumors persist and appear to affect people's behavior.

Speaking after a recent immigration forum at the Mexican Consulate, Blanca Hayden, a permanent resident living in Nogales, said she won't cross the border now because she heard that people who criticize Trump online are having their phones taken away and their visas revoked.

"There's a lot of fear, but I don't think the rumors are true," said Leyva, the shuttle driver. "I've seen that (customs officers) are asking more questions and the lines are slower, though."

Broad powers

Elsewhere, credible complaints have surfaced from people such as a U.S. citizen who was detained for more than three hours at the airport in Los Angeles and asked to unlock his phone so customs officers could scroll through his contacts, photos and social media before a trip to Saudi Arabia earlier this month. Such reports of searches and seizures of personal electronic devises are causing concern among some that CBP is increasing its already broad powers at the border.

"The situation essentially is that, if you are coming into the country, citizen or otherwise, they can look through your electronic devices without any kind of suspicion at all, which is obviously very concerning," Kilar said.

In Nogales, even people who have not personally seen or experienced anything out of the ordinary find these reports – along with apparently unfounded rumors that people who post negative comments about President Donald Trump on social media have their visas taken away – a cause for concern, said Carmen Mason of Nogales, Sonora, who was visiting her son in Nogales, Ariz. on Wednesday.

"I've crossed both ways without trouble," she said. "But people who cross daily because they work on this side, I think they fear that something could happen. There's this uncertainty that their passport might be taken or they might be sent back."

Maritza Fuentes, a Nogales, Sonora resident who crosses the border at the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry a couple times a week, also said she hasn't noticed any changes. But she has heard stories from other parts of the border, including from her cousin in Tijuana who said her phone was searched. While she doesn't think increased searches are being conducted in Nogales, Fuentes does believe they are happening elsewhere, she said.

The number of electronic media searches in fiscal year 2016, which ended on Sept. 30, increased five-fold to 23,877 compared to 4,764 in 2015, the Associated Press reported. However, asked for numbers for the Tucson Sector, CBP spokeswoman Teresa Small said they do not usually track that information, adding that these searches are not new, but a continuation of a long-standing policy.

According to a CBP statement provided in response to NI inquires: "All international travelers arriving to the U.S. are subject to CBP inspection. This inspection may include electronic devices such as computers, disks, drives, tapes, mobile phones and other communication devices, cameras, music and other media players and any other electronic or digital devices."

"I can tell you that whenever we are inspecting a cell phone it's because there is an investigation going on. We don't do that just to do it," said Marcia Armendariz, a CBP public affairs officer for the Nogales ports of entry.

Rights and reporting

It is true that port officers can search any person and their luggage at the border, said the ACLU's Kilar. "The new thing is the proposal that they take passwords and look at people's accounts," he said.

And while U.S. citizens cannot be denied entry into the United States for refusing to turn over a password or unlock a phone, he said, they could face other repercussions including prolonged detention, intense questioning and having the phone or other device temporarily confiscated.

The rights for non-citizens are less clear.

"That's the question of the hour. The law on this is really murky," Kilar said, noting that there have already been cases of people being denied entry for refusing requests to search their personal electronics. "I think that there will certainly be new challenges if that is something that starts happening more regularly."

According to the ACLU, even lawful permanent residents are advised to comply with searches, and those with visas can be denied entry to the United States if they refuse to answer questions. However, questioning cannot be based on race, religion, national origin, gender, ethnicity or political beliefs, and all people must be permitted to ask for asylum if they fear being persecuted or tortured if they are sent back to the county from which they traveled.

Kilar encouraged people to keep records about any searches that take place at the border.

"Get the officer's name and badge number if it seems like (the search) is going to escalate. Make a record of everything the CBP official is doing," he said, including how long you are detained, how long the officer had your phone or device, what they looked at and what was asked.

"All of these things are of interest to organizations like us. We would be interested in hearing about any of these incidents for record keeping and to see if there are any legal claims that can be made," he said.

At the recent immigration forum at the Mexican Consulate, immigration lawyer Ruben Reyes told those in attendance that everyone needs to be prepared for the changes that are happening.

"It appears that customs officers are becoming more aggressive in searching telephones, searching messages and going to social media – Facebook, Twitter," he said. "They are looking to see what you have and don't have in your phone. So you have to be careful."

The ACLU believes federal law should protect people's rights, Kilar said, and allowing CBP officers to search phones and other devices that contain large amounts of personal data without a warrant is "one of those areas where the law hasn't kept up with technology."

Kilar emphasized, however, that currently it is hard to know what is really happening as opposed to what are rumors fueled by fears about Trump administration policies, such as the effort to temporarily ban people entering the country from seven Muslim-majority countries.

"We hope it's nothing more than rumors," said Mason, from Nogales, Sonora. "Trump has us all alarmed with what he's been doing."


Note: interesting slide show. Security actions taken after a park ranger was murdered.



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