It’s been nearly six months since New Mexico rancher Larry Link was unexpectedly gunned down on his property and New Mexico State Police say they are no closer to solving the murder.
The lack of news about the June 7, 2011 murder weighs heavily on the minds of ranchers whose property straddles the international border with Mexico. However, most ranchers believe the crime was perpetrated by someone connected to the drug smuggling community.
Spokesperson for the New Mexico Police, Tim Johnson, indicated that locals in the region are perplexed that the murder investigation has not produced any leads and “encourages anyone with information to contact the State Police.”
The ranch where Link was executed is home to known-drug smuggling corridor. This murder falls on the heels of longtime Arizona rancher Rob Krentz, who was also killed by unknown assailants. These two unsolved slayings have forced property owners along the southern region to travel heavily-armed at all times.
A recent trip to Arizona’s border ranches highlighted the daily danger property owners and their ranch hands face on any given day. Most remain on a constant state of alert as they have been victims of break-ins, robberies and destruction of property.
“As you can see we have to carry multiple firearms with us at all times,” says Jim Chilton whose family has been ranching in Arizona since the 1800s. “We’ve had several break-ins and robberies. So far we haven’t been harmed by the rip crews (drug smugglers who rob from other human smugglers and property owners), but the criminals keep my wife and I prepared at all times.”
The Chilton ranch sees a daily barrage of drug smugglers seeking to deliver narcotics into the U.S. or illegal aliens seeking a “better life” in America. This steady flow of illicit activity forces ranchers to check fence lines every day. Chilton explains his ranch hands now have to travel armed and be ready to defend themselves from possible attacks- something ranchers never worried about a decade ago.
“We’ve had to add much more security to our homes in recent years for our safety,” he explained.
Even with the added security and permanent ranch hands Link’s murder lingers in the back of Chilton’s mind. “It was a senseless crime.”
Chilton knows a bit about senseless crimes; his ranch is a stone’s throw away from Rio Rico, Arizona where Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed by drug smugglers using the now infamous “fast and furious” guns.
“The canyons in this part of Arizona give the drug smugglers ample terrain to scout and traverse into America,” Chilton said.
He goes on to explain that he provides water fountains every quarter of a mile to keep the illegals from cutting water lines. Chilton also admits he does not report suspected illegal border crossers to the local authorities. “For reasons of safety and retaliation my wife and I do not report every crosser because we don’t want anyone to harm us.”
The Krentz and Link unsolved murders provide plenty of proof that staying outside the fray is the best policy.
In the meantime, ranchers will continue to protect their lives and property fiercely and hope they are not the next victims of druggers (a term Chilton uses referring to illegal drug smugglers).
Those with any information about the Larry Link murder can reach the New Mexico State Police at (575) 524-8827 or to report an anonymous tip, call Crime Stoppers at (575) 542-8827.
Congressional hearings on border issues set for Friday
Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX) will chair a hearing on October 14th titled “A Call to Action: Narco-Terrorism’s Threat to the Southern U.S. Border” for the Homeland Security Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee will present to Congress a comprehensive military assessment of the U.S.-Mexico border.
A highlighted report, Texas Border Security: A Strategic Military Assessment, demonstrates that Mexican drug cartels are attempting to establish safe havens in the U.S. as a launching point into the rest of the United States. Among the findings the hearing will examine:
• Cartels’ intention to influence all levels of government throughout the Americas
• Cartels’ intention to establish sanctuary zones in the U.S. one county deep
• Poorly resourced U.S. tactical efforts to stop cartel incursions; vulnerability to corruption
• Increasing likelihood that competition to control distribution territories and corridors will result in greater violence in Texas, as the Mexican military gains more control in Mexico
• The need to designate Mexican drug cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations
“This report is a call to action. Every American needs to be aware of the threat these narco-terrorists pose to our communities in every state, and to our national security,” Rep. McCaul said. “To date, this administration has buried its head in the sand rather than confront the extraordinary magnitude of the cartels’ incursions and operations in the United States and the propensity for increased violence. If the White House does not heed the warning that now is the time to commit to a comprehensive strategy to secure the border, it unfortunately may take a catastrophic event to get their attention.”
To read the first story; UPDATE: New Mexico businessman Larry Link murdered on own property - San Diego County Political Buzz | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/breaking-new-mexico-rancher-larry-link-murdered-by-illegal-alien#ixzz1QE7BoOXl
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