Despite pronouncements from Department of Homeland Security’s big “sis” Janet Napolitano that the southern U.S. border is “secure as ever,” the Pinal County SWAT team found several drug cartel lookout posts on the American side of the border.
The Pinal Regional SWAT team conducted a Desert Operation that focused on the interdiction of individuals/groups involved in smuggling of illicit drugs, illegal aliens, stolen vehicles, weapons, money and supplies for these activities.
Pinal County Sheriff’s Office remains aggressive in their approach to slow the trafficking of drug cartels as well as human smugglers. “This operation was in support of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to secure the area of the Sawtooth Mountains in preparation for a trash clean up,” said Tim Gaffney, media relations for Pinal County Sheriff Office.
During the operation, Pinal SWAT members assisted BLM employees by hiking to a suspected observation point that was being used to assist illegal smuggling organizations. “Once at this location, SWAT members located a sleeping bag, radio, two cell phones and associated trash,” Gaffney explained.
At another location SWAT members discovered a “load out area” (a meeting place where illegals gain transportation in the U.S.) along Interstate 8. The operation also led SWAT team members to another observation point that was used by suspected drug cartels.
The desert operation that Pinal SWAT conducted also netted four “marijuana backpackers,” who turned out to be undocumented aliens. The SWAT team turned the apprehended illegal aliens over to the U.S. Border Patrol for processing.
The successful mission remains a big part of the Pinal County Sheriff Office’s plan to curtail drug and human smuggling rings that continue to plague Arizona’s sparse desert.
“We will continue to apply as much pressure as possible to disrupt, dismantle and destroy cartel activities in Pinal County,” said Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu. “The citizens of Mexico are not our enemy but rather the Mexican drug cartels that have little regard for their own government and even less respect for our laws. We will continue to conduct these operations to protect our citizens until the Federal Government does their job and secures our border.”
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