News From the Border

Providing the news from a different front but from a war that we must win as well! I recognize the poverty and desperate conditions that many Latinos live in. We, as the USA, have a responsibility to do as much as we can to reach out to aid and assist spiritually with the Gospel and naturally with training, technology and resources. But poverty gives no one the right to break the laws of another sovereign nation.

Monday, March 17, 2008

More murderous mayhem in Mexico

Organized crime executions reach 3,008 in last 15 months

Posted: March 16, 2008 11:14 pm Eastern
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

WASHINGTON – A murderous slaughter of almost unimaginable proportions is taking place below America's southern border – and it goes almost unnoticed by U.S. government officials here.

On Friday, a seventh victim gunned down in a private law office in central Mexico died at a hospital as police investigate links between the firm and the country's organized crime syndicates whose revenues are made from selling drugs, smuggling people into the U.S. and arms trafficking.

Five men and a woman died Thursday in the attack in the city of Guadalajara, according to the Jalisco state attorney general's office. Three were lawyers and the others were employees, and some of the victims were found with their hands tied. Authorities had not made any arrests.

Several leading Mexican newspapers reported, citing anonymous state judicial sources, that one of the lawyers may have been defending Archivaldo Ivan Guzman, the son of alleged Sinaloa drug cartel chief Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. The elder Guzman escaped from federal prison in 2001 in a laundry cart after bribing guards.

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Migrant kidnappings by Mexican cops on the rise-U.N.

REUTERS

12:41 p.m. March 15, 2008

MEXICO CITY – Cases of corrupt Mexican police kidnapping undocumented Central American migrants for ransom as they travel overland to the United States are on the rise, a United Nations official said Saturday.

Jorge Bustamante, the U.N.'s special investigator for migrant rights, said extorting ransoms from migrants could be more lucrative for unscrupulous police than working for drug smuggling gangs.

“They kidnap migrants, ask them for information, relatives' phone numbers; then they extort money from the families,” Bustamante said, presenting the conclusions of a week-long study of how undocumented migrants are treated in Mexico.

Bustamante told a news conference both federal and local police were involved in kidnapping rackets on Mexico's northern and southern borders. “It's an abuse and it's increasing,” he said.

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Migrant kidnappings by Mexican cops on the rise-U.N.

REUTERS

12:41 p.m. March 15, 2008

MEXICO CITY – Cases of corrupt Mexican police kidnapping undocumented Central American migrants for ransom as they travel overland to the United States are on the rise, a United Nations official said Saturday.

Jorge Bustamante, the U.N.'s special investigator for migrant rights, said extorting ransoms from migrants could be more lucrative for unscrupulous police than working for drug smuggling gangs.

“They kidnap migrants, ask them for information, relatives' phone numbers; then they extort money from the families,” Bustamante said, presenting the conclusions of a week-long study of how undocumented migrants are treated in Mexico.

Bustamante told a news conference both federal and local police were involved in kidnapping rackets on Mexico's northern and southern borders. “It's an abuse and it's increasing,” he said.

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Member of Arellano Felix cartel arrested in San Felipe

By Sandra Dibble

UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

March 16, 2008

Mexican federal officials say they have arrested a top member of the Arellano Felix cartel in the Gulf of California fishing town of San Felipe.

He was identified as Saúl Montes de Oca, a former Baja California state police agent, and officials say he coordinated drug shipments and abductions for the criminal organization.

Montes de Oca's capture Saturday follows the arrest Tuesday in Baja California Sur of another key suspected cartel member, Gustavo Rivera Martinez. Rivera, a U.S. citizen and graduate of Bonita Vista High School, was arrested at a hot dog stand in Baja California Sur.

Montes de Oca was nicknamed El Ciego, or The Blind One, and faces charges in the United States and Mexico. He was arrested as he prepared to participate in the Baja 250 Off-Road Race, according to a top official of the Baja California Attorney General's Office, whose agents also participated in his detention.

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36 is final tally of bodies found in Juárez backyard

Associated Press

Article Launched: 03/16/2008 12:00:00 AM MDT

Mexican officials said Saturday that 36 bodies were found buried in the backyard of a house in a city Juárez, and they think that number is the final tally.

Mexican federal agents began digging behind a Juárez house allegedly used by the Juárez drug cartel two weeks ago after receiving an anonymous tip, law enforcement officials said.

In the raid, investigators found 3,740 pounds of marijuana in the house. They initially found six dismembered bodies, and as excavations proceeded, the tally rose.

On Saturday, the attorney general's office said in a statement that a total of 36 bodies had been found in 16 pits in the yard. The latest previous estimate had been 33. Officials did not provide details on the three new bodies.

The statement said that investigators were done excavating behind the house in La Cuesta neighborhood, and that they believe there are no more remains to be found.

The remains date back about five years and all but three apparently are males. The statement said investigators were still trying to determine how the victims died and who buried the bodies.

Juárez has been plagued by violence as Mexico's crackdown on powerful drug cartels stokes turf wars among traffickers that have been linked to hundreds of killings in the past two years.

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Feds charge Sierra Vista man with aiding illegal entrants

The Associated Press

Tucson, Arizona | Published: 03.15.2008

A 25-year-old Sierra Vista man is in federal custody, charged with knowingly hiring and harboring illegal immigrants.

Authorities say Robert Rubio, manager of an unidentified company in Sierra Vista, tipped off an illegal immigrant in June 2007 that immigration agents were inspecting the firm.

The federal complaint alleges that Rubio told the immigrant to leave with several others to avoid arrest.

The complaint says inspectors determined that 10 people working for the company were using fraudulent cards identifying them as permanent residents.

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Eight illegals, one a minor, arrested at Bullhead City bar

By Amanda Lee Myers

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

PHOENIX — Eight illegal immigrants were arrested early Sunday morning at a raucous Bullhead City bar found to be serving alcohol to minors.

Police in the western Arizona city have received numerous complaints about La Conchita bar in the past six months and have recently investigated a severe beating there and an incident in which a patron pointed a gun at two employees, department spokeswoman Emily Montague said Sunday.

Montague said the department began surveillance on the bar two weeks ago after a large group of people in the parking lot threw glass beer bottles at a marked patrol car.

The department and other Arizona law enforcement agencies conducted a liquor inspection La Conchita at about 12 a.m. Sunday and found that the bar owner was serving liquor to minors. One person in the bar was just 17 years old.

Authorities also arrested nine people, eight of whom were illegal immigrants, on liquor violations. The illegal immigrants, who included the 17-year-old boy, were turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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U.S. boosts deportation of illegals

March 17, 2008

By Jerry Seper - The Department of Homeland Security, continuing to enforce what it calls a "strict policy of arresting, prosecuting and jailing" illegal immigrants, deported a record number of those caught on the nation's borders last year — more than 280,000 in fiscal year 2007 compared with 186,000 a year earlier.

It was the largest number of illegals ever removed from the country in a single year.

The increase is attributable to what veteran law-enforcement authorities said is a revised apprehension process, adding that the department no longer is targeting only criminal illegals for removal, but seeks eventually to apprehend, charge and deport all those who cross illegally into the United States.

To that end, Homeland Security has initiated "Operation Streamline" along some sectors of the U.S.-Mexico border, which brings illegal immigrants into the U.S. criminal justice system, where they are prosecuted either for a misdemeanor on their first offense or a felony if they have been caught before.

"Under this program, individuals who are caught at certain designated high-traffic, high-risk zones are prosecuted and, if convicted, are jailed," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said at a recent press briefing.

Mr. Chertoff noted that between October and December, the Justice Department prosecuted 1,200 cases under the new program and, as a consequence, apprehension rates dropped nearly 70 percent in those areas.

"When people who cross the border illegally are brought to face the reality that they are committing a crime, even if it is just a misdemeanor, that has a huge impact on their willingness to try again and on the willingness of others to break the law coming across the border," he said.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokeswoman Ernestine Fobbs said the agency's Office of Detention and Removal Operations deported to 195 countries a total of 280,523 illegal immigrants during fiscal 2007 — which ended Sept. 30.

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Judge, landowners giving feds a fight on border fence

The Associated Press

Published: 03.17.2008

McALLEN, Texas - Some resistant South Texas landowners and a deliberate federal judge have come between the government and its goal of nearly 700 miles of Mexican-border fencing by the end of the year.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen has ordered the government to negotiate with owners over the price of access to the land, an extra step that has slowed the project.

Most landowners in Arizona, California and Texas have allowed the government on their property, but some have refused, prompting the Department of Justice to sue.

Communities along the Rio Grande in South Texas have fought the most. They fear being cut off from the river and agricultural lands and bristle at the imposition of a plan hatched in Washington, D.C.

Officials want to determine which properties they need and whether they have to buy the land or seize it through eminent domain. They also want to determine whether alternatives, such as lighting, more Border Patrol agents or technology would work better in some areas.

Most of the nearly 500 property owners in the fence's path gave voluntary access to their land and more than 30 miles of fencing have been built.

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Arizona, Colorado pursue state guest worker plans

The Associated Press

Published: 03.14.2008

PHOENIX — As a labor contractor in the nation's winter lettuce capital, Francisco Chavez struggles to hire enough workers to pick and package the produce.

Last year, ripe romaine sometimes went bad in the fields around Yuma, Ariz., because Chavez didn't have enough people to harvest the crop, which must be picked by hand. "That's my challenge — to get the crews," he said.

Such complaints are becoming so common that lawmakers in Arizona and Colorado are considering creating their own guest-worker programs to attract more immigrant laborers. It's unclear whether states have the authority to adopt such measures, but legislators are tired of waiting for Congress to overhaul the immigration system — and they are taking matters into their own hands.

State Sen. Abel Tapia, the Democratic co-author of the Colorado proposal, lashed out at Washington: "You had your chance to do a comprehensive immigration package a year ago, and you didn't do it, and I can't imagine that you will have anything by 2010, so what are we to do in the meantime?"

The federal government has run guest-worker programs for more than a century, but congressional efforts to overhaul the system stalled in 2006 and 2007.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Another illegal alien May Day demonstration on the way

By Michelle Malkin • March 13, 2008 12:09 PM

The shamnesty forces are at it again. Lucky for us, they learned nothing from the failed illegal alien protests of two years ago–when open-borders radicals took to the streets, tore down American flags, wielded ethnic supremacist signs, and spun out of control. The national backlash galvanized pro-immigration enforcement forces and paved the road to defeat of the Bush-Kennedy-McCain amnesty bill.

Not sure why they think a repeat will help their cause, but I’m not going to complain about their cluelessness. Bring it on:

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US city plans moat to keep out migrants

Yuma goes back to basics as hostility to fences grows
Environmentalists back plan for Mexican border

Photograph: George Steinmetz/Corbis

There have been virtual fences, real fences, increased patrols and night-vision cameras. Now the latest initiative by the US to seal its increasingly porous border with Mexico harks back to one of the oldest approaches: dig a moat. City officials in Yuma, in south-western Arizona, have come up with a scheme to create a "security channel" along the nearby border by reviving a derelict two-mile stretch of the Colorado river.

"The moats that I've seen circled the castle and allowed you to protect yourself, and that's kind of what we're looking at here," Yuma county sheriff Ralph Ogden told the Associated Press. The scheme would see engineers dig out a two-mile stretch of a 180-hectare (440-acre) wetland known as Hunters Hole.

Once a haven to anglers, ducks and the Cocopah Indians, the area is now a thicket of tamarisk, forgotten shoes and old cars providing cover for smugglers and border crossers. But under the plan, all that would change. The banks of the river would be replanted with native cattail, bulrush and mesquite, and wells would supply water to the wetlands as well as to a 20-metre-wide, three-metre-deep channel that would run the length of Hunters Hole.

With the replenished river marking the frontier, would-be border crossers would have to scale a 4.5-metre levee - built with the earth excavated from the riverbed - cross a 120-metre-wide marsh and then ascend another levee on the northern side of the wetlands.

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Mexican truck drivers take English exam in Spanish

DOT chief's admission to Senate panel contradicts administration's assurances
Posted: March 14, 2008 12:45 am Eastern
By Jerome R. Corsi
WorldNetDaily

Mexican truck drivers allowed to travel throughout the U.S. under a Bush administration demonstration project may not be proficient in English, despite Department of Transportation assurances to the contrary.

A brochure on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's website instructs Mexican truck drivers, "Did you know … You MUST be able to read and speak English to drive trucks in the United States."

Still, at the Senate Commerce Committee oversight hearing Tuesday, Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters and DOT Inspector General Calvin L. Scovel III reluctantly admitted under intense questioning from Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., that Mexican drivers were being designated at the border as "proficient in English" even though they could explain U.S. traffic signs only in Spanish.

In the tense hearing, Dorgan accused Peters of being "arrogant" and in reckless disregard of a congressional vote to stop the Mexican trucking demonstration project by taking away funds to continue the project. Toward the end, the senator asked if it were true Mexican truckers could explain U.S. traffic signs only in Spanish when given English proficiency tests at the border.

See articles below on just how trustworthy these truckers coming from Mexico are? -mm

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Migrant protection group officer dies of wounds

UNION-TRIBUNE

6:45 a.m. March 14, 2008

TIJUANA: An officer with Mexico's federal migrant protection unit, Grupo Beta, has died of gunshot wounds after an attack late Wednesday near the border, the Baja California Attorney General's Office reported yesterday.

Alejandro Rivera Meléndez, 34, and another officer were attacked shortly before midnight Wednesday in the upper part of Colonia Libertad, a Tijuana neighborhood that abuts the U.S. border at San Ysidro. Rivera was pronounced dead at a Tijuana hospital, according to the attorney general's statement.

Rivera was a member of Tijuana's municipal police department assigned to Grupo Beta, the statement said. The other officer was not identified, and his condition was not known.

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Deportation snag hits for drug cartel suspect

UNION-TRIBUNE

6:39 a.m. March 14, 2008

Mexican authorities said yesterday that the deportation of a U.S. citizen alleged to be a top member of the Tijuana-based Arellano Félix drug cartel was in limbo after the man said he also has Mexican citizenship.

Under Mexican law, Mexican citizens cannot be deported to another country.

Gustavo Rivera Martínez, 46, was captured Tuesday night in Baja California Sur. He was indicted on U.S. drug charges in 2002 in San Diego.

Foreign governments that wish to try a Mexican citizen must submit an extradition request, and the process can take months or even years.

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Smuggling suspect held after 100 mph pursuit

UNION-TRIBUNE

8:14 a.m. March 14, 2008

A smuggling suspect in a stolen car with illegal migrants led Chula Vista officers on a 100 mph pursuit Thursday night before crashing in Otay Mesa, Chula Vista police said. Four men were arrested.

A Chula Vista officer saw a 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix speeding along Olympic Parkway and tried to stop the driver about 10:15 p.m., Lt. Scott Arsenault said.

The driver allegedly sped onto southbound Interstate 805, turned east on state Route 905 and lost control trying to turn south on Otay Mesa Road. The car went off the road and the driver and one passenger ran into a canyon, Arsenault said.

San Diego police, a helicopter and the California Highway Patrol assisted as a Chula Vista police dog sniffed out the pair and bit one man, believed to have been the driver, in a leg. He was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Arsenault said the Pontiac may have been stolen from a San Diego car dealership.

He said at least two of the passengers had crossed the border illegally from Mexico. The 18-year-old driver is believed to be a United States citizen who was smuggling the other men.

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Drugs 'tied to children's legs'

The Press Association

March 13, 2008

A Mexican woman has been charged with drug smuggling after 15 kilos of cocaine were allegedly found strapped to the legs of two children at Heathrow airport, HM Revenue & Customs have said.

Elisa Vazquez Sanchez, 40, was arrested after the drugs, with an estimated street value of 675,000, were discovered during a search on Tuesday.

Customs officers at Heathrow's Terminal 4 carried out the search after Sanchez and the children arrived on a British Airways flight from Mexico City around lunchtime.

Bob Gaiger, HM Revenue & Customs spokesman at Heathrow, said: 'We never cease to be amazed at the lengths to which some people will go to hide drugs from us when they pass through our controls.'

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Top prosecutors in Ariz., Mexico target smuggling

Sean Holstege

The Arizona Republic
Mar. 14, 2008 12:00 AM

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard says a new pact among top U.S. and Mexican prosecutors ushers in "a new era" of clamping down on international smuggling and points to a Phoenix murder case as proof.

Investigators on both sides of the border are teaming up to find a Phoenix drophouse killer who is involved in a Mexican human-smuggling ring, Goddard said. He declined to provide any more details, but said it's the first time a joint investigation has been conducted in the two countries before an arrest.

The case reflects agreements between U.S. and Mexican prosecutors that were cemented at a three-day conference in Phoenix earlier this week. Officials from the two countries vowed to cooperate on cases involving drug smugglers, gun runners, coyotes, stolen cars and laundered money.

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33 bodies found in backyard in Mexican border city

Associated Press

Mar. 14, 2008 06:41 AM

MEXICO CITY - Mexican investigators found 19 more bodies buried in the backyard of a house in Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, increasing the tally of corpses found there to 33, officials said Thursday.

Federal agents began digging in the yard in the La Cuesta neighborhood on March 1, initially finding six dismembered bodies, Mexico's federal attorney general's office said in a statement.

The remains date back about five years and all but three apparently are males, the statement said.

The attorney general's office did not say how the victims died or who may have buried the bodies. In the initial raid, authorities found 3,740 pounds of marijuana in the house.

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$8 million load of marijuana seized in Calexico

March 13, 2008 - 1:16PM

A routine search of a trailer passing through a commercial inspection station this week in Calexico, Calif. uncovered 11,000 pounds of marijuana, California Highway Patrol announced Thursday.

The street value of the drug shipment is estimated at $8 million, according to CHP.

According to CHP, a 2001 Freightliner tractor pulling a 53-foot box trailer attempted to pass through CHP's Calexico Inspection Facility Tuesday afternoon. It had just entered the United States via the east port of entry.

CHP officials said the trailer, owned by Swift Transportation, was supposed to be carrying water heaters. However, during the routine commercial inspection an officer became suspicious that drugs might be concealed at the rear of the trailer.

The Calexico Police Department was called, with their drug-detection canine, which immediately noted the presence of drugs at the rear doors.

When the doors were open numerous large boxes containing multiple packages of marijuana were discovered on top of the water heaters. When the truck was unloaded a total of 100 large cardboard boxes and 600 packages were discovered, totaling 11,000 pounds of marijuana.

"The whole top half of the trailer was filled with boxes of packaged marijuana," Kirchhof said.

That's right! Let's just open our borders wide to let those trustworthy truckers from Mexico in to drive wherever they please! After all, they're just trying to making an honest living transporting drug for the cartels in Mexico! -mm (Read more below!)

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Arrests and Seizures are Evidence of Border Patrol Success in Ariz.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tucson, Ariz. — Border Patrol agents assigned to the Tucson sector area made arrests and drug seizures yesterday that provide evidence of greater operational control achieved through sound strategy.

On March 11, 2008 at approximately 5 p.m., agents assigned to the Nogales Border Patrol Station arrested 60 subjects hiding in a small home in Rio Rico. All 60 people were found be Mexican Nationals that had illegally entered the United States.

Five men are being held in service custody pending prosecution for alien smuggling. Additionally, three vehicles were seized for their use in the smuggling scheme.

At approximately 8 p.m. the same evening, a large drug seizure was made at the I-19 checkpoint. A Border Patrol agent, also assigned to the Nogales Station, and his service canine partner discovered that a red tractor trailer carrying vegetables contained 78 bundles of marijuana concealed among the cargo. The bundles, weighing nearly 1,700 pounds, and the driver were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for prosecution.

Early this morning, a Border Patrol service canine alerted to the possibility of contraband concealed in yet another tractor trailer at the I-19 checkpoint. Border Patrol agents discovered 124 bundles of marijuana, weighing almost 2,700 pounds, concealed between pallets of squash and bell peppers. The driver and the marijuana were also transferred to Drug Enforcement Administration custody for prosecution.

The 60 arrests from a single residence and the two drug seizures highlight the growing operational control of the border region, which is being achieved through the dedicated efforts of agents working under an effective mission strategy. As smuggling organizations attempt to change their patterns and methods, the Border Patrol’s tactics in this area continue to interrupt their operations. In the last five months, Tucson Sector agents have made 112,070 apprehensions and seized 191 tons of marijuana.

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CBP and Coast Guard Rescue 15 Foreign Nationals Off the Coast of San Diego

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

San Diego, Calif. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard rescued 15 foreign nationals off the coast of San Diego this morning, officials announced today.

At about 8 a.m., CBP Air and Marine agents and Coast Guard personnel heard a radio report from a sea-towing company that a vessel appeared to be in distress. The sea-towing company in San Diego had received a call from a passing pleasure boat and put out a call on a maritime radio channel monitored by boaters and law enforcement agencies.

A CBP Air and Marine go fast boat and a 33-foot Coast Guard rescue vessel responded to the call and arrived at the 24-foot blue and white skipjack boat at about 8:30 a.m., 20 miles north of the border with Mexico and 12 miles off the San Diego coast.

CBP and Coast Guard personnel provided water to the 15 adult individuals, including four females, who complained of hunger and thirst. Some appeared to be sunburned and dehydrated. There were no reports of serious injuries. They stated that they had been without food or water for the past three days.

Nine of the individuals were loaded onto the CBP Midnight Express vessel and the remaining six were placed on the Coast Guard vessel.

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Border Patrol Agents and Sheriff’s Deputies Locate Runaway with Gang in Ariz.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Yuma, Ariz. – Border Patrol agents and sheriff’s deputies, working together as members of the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office Gang Task Force arrested a “Sureno 13” gang member and also located a juvenile female reported as a runaway.

About 8:45 p.m., Border Patrol agents and YCSO Deputies encountered the man and a female subject near the Yuma Greyhound Bus Station. Agents determined the man was an alien illegally present in the United States. The juvenile female is a U.S. citizen who was reported as a “runaway” by her parents in California.

YCSO Deputies took custody of the female subject and are in the process of returning her to her parents. No charges have been filed by the juvenile’s parents against her alleged companion.

The illegal alien was taken to the Yuma Border Patrol Station where, in subsequent interviews, he claimed to be a “Sureno 13” gang member. He will undergo prosecution/removal proceedings for being illegally present in the United States and could face up to 180 days in jail.

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Border Patrol Agents Make Half-ton Marijuana Seizure

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Alamogordo, New Mexico – Border Patrol agents stationed in Alamogordo at a New Mexico highway traffic checkpoint seized more than a half-ton of marijuana Tuesday. The drugs were found in an after-market compartment inside a Ford van.

Agents observed a 1995 Ford Econoline van with two passengers arrive at the checkpoint. The driver of a 44-year old Mexican citizen, began to display unusual behavior. Based on the driver’s behavior, the van was referred to secondary

for further inspection where agents found a wooden compartment built into the floor of the vehicle.

Inside the compartment agents found 25 bundles of marijuana weighing more than 1,066 pounds. The estimated value of the contraband is $853,152.

The driver and his 32-year old passenger from Mexico were placed under arrest and turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration in Las Cruces.

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Border Patrol Agents Seize 18 Bundles of Marijuana in Texas

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Laredo, Texas – Border Patrol agents from the Laredo North Station seized more than 700 pounds of marijuana at a Texas checkpoint.

On Tuesday, March 11, 2008, a Border Patrol canine alerted agents to the trailer of an 18-wheeler that came to the checkpoint. Agents searched the trailer the agents located 10 duffel bags containing 18 bundles of marijuana hidden in the front of the trailer behind pallets of merchandise.

A total of 732.4 pounds of marijuana was recovered with an estimated street value of $585,920.00. The subject, tractor and marijuana were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Senator scolds DOT chief on Mexican trucks in U.S.

Tells defiant Cabinet member in hearing, 'Your arrogance will have consequences'
Posted: March 12, 2008 5:13 pm Eastern

By Jerome R. Corsi
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

A combative Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters was accused in a Senate hearing yesterday of defying a congressional vote to halt the Bush administration's controversial project allowing Mexican trucks to operate freely on U.S. roads.

"I regret supporting your nomination to be secretary of transportation," Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., told Peters. "Your legal counsel is giving you bad advice that unfortunately you have willingly accepted."

Dorgan charged the Department of Transportation was "hell-bent on proceeding with this pilot program" regardless of safety concerns the agency's inspector general continues to document.

"You believe you have found a loophole, but you are making a very big mistake," Dorgan warned Peters.

"This is a slap in the face of Congress," he declared, "and your arrogance will have consequences."

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Mexican Cabinet secretary investigated

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Mexico's federal attorney general's office on Tuesday announced an investigation into allegations of corruption against Interior Secretary Juan Camilo Mourino, a confidant of the president who holds the government's second highest profile job.

Mourino faces allegations of using his political clout while previously serving as a federal congressman and top energy official to benefit a family business.

The announcement came after a prominent opposition politician produced a series of contracts dated from 2000 to 2004 between state oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, and the Mourino family business, Transportes Especializados Ivancar SA.

"Various public officials have accused Juan Camilo Mourino Terrazo of allegedly benefiting private companies through his role as a public servant," the attorney general's office said in a statement. Mourino "has requested that the charges be clarified because he feels they lack substance."

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Truckers' language rules unclear

Mexican drivers also can answer in Spanish
By Paul M. Krawzak
UNION-TRIBUNE U-T WASHINGTON BUREAU
March 12, 2008

WASHINGTON – Mexican truck drivers allowed to travel throughout the United States under the auspices of a pilot program are first required by law to demonstrate proficiency with the English language.

But U.S. Department of Transportation regulations allow those drivers to use a language other than English when responding to questions to prove they recognize U.S. highway signs, according to testimony yesterday at a Senate hearing.

The apparent disparity between the legal requirement and the specific regulation drew a skeptical reaction from Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D.

“It raises the question of English proficiency, which is part of the safety issue,” he said.

Dorgan, an opponent of the program, has accused the Bush administration of not requiring Mexican truck drivers to meet the same safety standards as their U.S. counterparts – a claim that federal transportation officials dispute.

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Mexican military to investigate abuse

Calderon pledges 'unrestricted support for human rights'

By JEREMY ROEBUCK/The Monitor

March 11, 2008 - 1:29AM

The Mexican military will investigate claims that its soldiers performed unwarranted searches, stole private property and otherwise abused their authority in cities along the country's northern border, according to one of its spokesmen.

In a written statement, Mexican President Felipe Calderon's defense ministry pledged "unrestricted support for human rights and the firm intention to make (its) operations transparent."

Allegations of abuse surfaced soon after Calderon dispatched hundreds of troops to the U.S.-Mexico border early this year with a mandate to weed out police corruption and combat the nation's entrenched drug cartels.

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Alleged drug trafficker nabbed in Mexico; will be deported to US

Associated Press - March 12, 2008 4:54 PM ET

MEXICO CITY (AP) - Mexican authorities have captured a U.S. citizen alleged to be a top member of a major drug cartel and say they will send him back to the United States immediately.

Gustavo Rivera Martinez, reputed to be a top member of the Tijuana-based Arellano-Felix cartel, will be turned over to agents of the U.S. government, which wants him on drug charges.

Federal Public Safety Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna told a Mexico City news conference today that Rivera Martinez took over the cartel's operation after the arrest of Francisco Javier Arellano Felix.

Rivera Martinez has been a fugitive since 2002. The U.S. government has offered a$2 million reward for his capture.

Rivera Martinez was arrested last night in the state of Baja California Sur, along with three other suspects.

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Federal Court of Appeals affirms convictions of former Iowa restaurant owners

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The convictions of two former owners of The Galley Restaurant in Vinton, Iowa, who hired illegal aliens to work in their restaurant, were upheld today by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. U.S. Attorney Matt M. Dummermuth, District of Iowa, made the announcement; the convictions resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Sadik Seferi, 43, and Nicole Tipton, 25, of Vinton, Iowa, were sentenced Nov. 30, 2006 following a May 10 jury verdict finding them guilty of hiring and harboring illegal aliens, and for conspiring to hire and harbor illegal aliens. Seferi was sentenced to 30 months in prison; Tipton was sentenced to 27 months.

Seferi and Tipton operated The Galley Restaurant from about September 2005 through March 2006. Evidence presented at the trial showed that during this time they knowingly hired at least six illegal aliens to work in the restaurant. One of the workers was 14 years old and another was 17.

The illegal aliens employed by the restaurant were paid cash at far below minimum wage, and taxes were not withheld from their pay. However, records presented in court showed that Seferi and Tipton paid U.S. citizens and properly documented alien employees by check and withheld taxes from their wages.

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Border Patrol Agents Seize 18 Bundles of Marijuana in Texas

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Laredo, Texas – Border Patrol agents from the Laredo North Station seized more than 700 pounds of marijuana at a Texas checkpoint.

On Tuesday, March 11, 2008, a Border Patrol canine alerted agents to the trailer of an 18-wheeler that came to the checkpoint. Agents searched the trailer the agents located 10 duffel bags containing 18 bundles of marijuana hidden in the front of the trailer behind pallets of merchandise.

A total of 732.4 pounds of marijuana was recovered with an estimated street value of $585,920.00. The subject, tractor and marijuana were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

To report suspicious activity such as drug and/or alien smuggling, contact the Laredo Sector Border Patrol toll free telephone number at 1-800-343-1994.

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Border Patrol Agent in Ariz. Intercepts Dope Smuggler

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Yuma, Ariz. – A Border Patrol agent working near San Luis this morning seized 22 bundles of marijuana and a truck.

About 6:30 a.m., the agent observed a white, Ford F-150 heading north on Avenue E away from the United States/Mexico International Boundary. The truck turned around and headed south once he realized he’d been seen by the agent. The agent followed the vehicle back to the International Boundary where the driver abandoned the vehicle and absconded into Mexico.

While securing the vehicle, the Border Patrol agent discovered 22 bundles of marijuana in the bed of the F-150.

The marijuana, weighing 460 pounds, has an estimated value of $368,000.

The narcotics and the vehicle were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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CBP Officers Discover $45,000 in Foot Massager

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Memphis, Tenn. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Memphis International Airport cargo inspection facility seized $45,000 of undeclared currency concealed in a personal foot massager.

On March 11, 2008, CBP officers performing pre-arrival manifest review at the cargo inspection facility selected a shipment manifested as "Foot Pleaser Ultra Deep Kneading Foot Massager" for intensive exam. The foot massager was x-rayed

and discrepancies were noticed around the motor of the massager. The massager was opened revealing 18 bundles. The bundles contained $45,000 in undeclared currency. The package was then turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Robert Gomez, Director of Field Operations for Atlanta said, "This seizure demonstrates the extraordinary efforts that criminals will use to conceal their smuggling activities and identity. The CBP officers in Memphis, Tenn. are to be commended for their targeting activities and follow-up discovery of this undeclared currency."

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Border Patrol Agents Intercept 1,500 Pounds of Marijuana in Two Incidents in Texas

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Del Rio, Texas – U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Del Rio sector seized over 1,500 pounds of marijuana during the last few days. As agents continue to hold the line, their hard work and diligence has paid off with significant arrests and drug seizures.

One of the most significant drug seizures was made by agents assigned to the Eagle Pass North station. Agents were alerted to a spicious activity by a landowner when the caller stated the he had observed a dark color sedan pull off the road along his property. The concerned citizen also witnessed two individuals toss several large duffle bags into the trunk and back seat of the sedan.

Agents responding to the call witnessed a vehicle matching the description headed south on a Texas highway towards Eagle Pass traveling at a high rate of speed. The agents found the sedan, which had been involved in an accident prior to the Border Patrol’s arrival, a short time later. There were no injuries reported as a result of the accident.

Nearly 620 pounds of marijuana valued at over $540,000.00 were discovered in the sedan. The contraband and driver were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

In a separate drug seizure, Border Patrol agents were alerted to suspicious activity when a pickup truck drove back and forth several times before entering a cemetery. The truck entered and exited the cemetery within a short time-span which heightened the agent’s suspicion.

Based upon their suspicion, the agents performed a vehicle stop for further investigation. As one of the agents approached the truck he immediately observed large burlap sacks in the bed of the truck.

A consensual search of the burlap sacks revealed more than 580 pounds of marijuana valued at over $500,000.00. The agents arrested the driver, two passengers and seized the marijuana. The contraband and occupants were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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Bi-National Law Enforcement Cooperation Pays Dividends for Border Security

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

El Paso, Texas – A potentially hostile situation was brought under control yesterday by Border Patrol agents in Ysleta in cooperation with Mexican authorities, when it was discovered that a gun being wielded by a juvenile turned out to be a toy replica.

On Monday, March 11, 2008 at approximately 12:15 p.m., Border Patrol agents from Ysleta, Texas observed two subjects attempting to make an illegal entry into the United States. Upon further observation, the agents noticed that one of the males was holding what appeared to be a handgun. As the agents approached the area, the subjects retreated back into Mexico. The agents notified and coordinated with Mexican law enforcement agencies in order to apprehend the subjects.

Mexican Police officers promptly responded and were able to apprehend two juveniles. The officers determined that the gun was in-fact a replica of a .40 caliber Berretta pistol. The two juveniles were taken into custody by the Cuidad Juarez Municipal Police Department.

These types of incidents clearly depict a successful working relationship between law enforcement agencies on both sides of the border and further shows the interest that Mexican authorities have in protecting our mutual borders.

Though the weapon in this case was revealed to be a toy replica, it is indicative of the challenges that Border Patrol agents face on a routine basis, and speaks highly of the training and instruction provided to agents in matters that allow resolution with little or no incident.

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U.S. student visas go mostly to the rich and successful

Applicants must have good grades and high incomes — and even then, securing one proves far from easy

By Brady McCombs

ARIZONA DAILY STAR

Applicants for student visas must be excellent students with a command of English and enough money — $32,000 at the UA — to prove they, or their families, can pay out-of-state tuition and living expenses for at least one year.

Still, that's no guarantee of approval. In fiscal year 2007, the U.S. State Department rejected nearly a third of the 432,000 student visa applications submitted worldwide.

Azuara is one of 2,300 international students at the UA. Nationwide, she is one of 14,922 from Mexico and 978,906 in the United States, according to figures from Immigration and Customs Enforcement that also include students on two other types of less-common visas.

Becoming an international student isn't possible for many families around the world.

"It's a huge investment for a family to send their children here," says Joanne Lagasse-Long, director of the International student programs and services at the UA.

If a family can afford to send a child to study in the United States, it usually means they are doing well socially and economically in their home country and are unlikely to consider entering illegally, she says.

Once here, students are kept under a close watch by Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Web-based Student and Exchange Visitor Program, which monitors students and their dependents throughout their approved stay in the U.S. education system.

If students don't have a full course load or are working in an unauthorized job, universities are required to report them to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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Navarrette: Asking suspect's status isn't a crime

RUBEN NAVARRETTE JR.

Published: 03.12.2008

You can't please everyone. But when it comes to immigration reform, you're not on the right track until you're not pleasing anyone.

The Phoenix Police Department has adopted a new immigration enforcement policy that is taking torpedoes from those who think it goes too far and from those who insist it doesn't go far enough.

The policy change, recommended by a panel of former government prosecutors and implemented by Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, allows officers to question anyone suspected of a crime about their immigration status and gives officers the discretion about whether to notify federal immigration officials.

But it prohibits officers from posing such questions to crime victims, witnesses or anyone stopped for civil violations such as speeding.

Immigrant-rights activists, Latino lawyer associations and civil libertarians condemn the policy change, calling it a sop to xenophobia.

The Phoenix police union denounces the new policy as "smoke and mirrors." It wants officers to be able to make judgments about who is in the country illegally - using the standard of "reasonable suspicion," a lower threshold employed by immigration authorities.

So who is right and who is wrong? That's easy. The city is right and the critics are wrong.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bush says border solution includes swinging door

'Temporary worker program' to let people cross boundary needed

Posted: March 10, 2008 11:07 pm Eastern
WorldNetDaily

The solution to security issues on the U.S. border with Mexico will need to include some sort of swinging door so that workers can come and go as they want, according to the White House press secretary.

WND's correspondent at the White House, Les Kinsolving, asked spokeswoman Dana Perino:

"Reuters reports that our Customs and Border Protection Commissioner admits that the U.S. may not meet the goal of essentially stopping illegal immigration from Mexico by 2011. And my question: What does the president believe would help most in this effort, more border security personnel, more miles of border fence, or more enforcement of immigration regulations nationwide?"

"The president thinks that all of those issues are important, but he would add another measure, which is a temporary worker program so that we could have a legal mechanism for people who want to cross the border and work in America, but also want to go back home," she said.

The Reuters report cited an admission from Ralph Basham, commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, who said in 2005 the government projected having "operational control" of the border within five years.

However, in testimony before Congress, he said the Secure Border Initiative included several assumptions, and some of those underlying events have not happened.

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Border States Feel Strain…In Mexico!

Memo From Mexico, By Allan Wall

In January, a delegation came to Arizona from the Mexican state of Sonora, Arizona’s neighbor to the south, to complain about Arizona’s recently-enacted law that cracks down on illegal immigration.

There’s nothing new about Mexican officials meddling in U.S. immigration policy. They’ve become quite accustomed to it. Needless to say, foreign officials shouldn’t deter Arizona’s lawmakers from doing what needs to be done.

But there’s another angle to this story, which illustrates the special predicament of Mexican Border States, and the role those states might play in the future.

Mexico has six states that border the U.S. From east to west, they are: Tamaulipas , Nuevo Leon , Coahuila , Chihuahua, Sonora , and Baja California.

These six states are among Mexico’s more prosperous states. They are not major sources of emigrants to the U.S.

According to a 2007 Mexican government report prepared for the Mexican House of Representatives, the 5 principal “emigrant-expelling states” are in Central Mexico. They are: Michoacan (President Calderon’s home state, said to have more of its people dwelling in the U.S. than in the home state), Jalisco, Guanajuato (Vicente Fox’s home state) , the state of Mexico and Veracruz.

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In Los Angeles, Hispanic Gangs Ethnically Cleansing Black Neighborhoods

By Brenda Walker

If Washington wanted to develop a vibrant underworld of vicious criminal gangs, it couldn't do any better than the immigration system now in place. The permissiveness toward lawbreaking border-crossers combined with the pure numbers of immigrants who cannot possibly be assimilated in such bulk has created a witches' brew of crime-spawning social pathology. The worst creatures are the Hispanic gangsters who kill innocent Americans in order to illustrate aptitude for savagery.

A recent heart-breaking example: the slaughter on March 2 of 17-year-old Jamiel Shaw, Jr. The South Los Angeles high school student was shot dead just a few doors from home by two Latino men who jumped from a car and demanded to know to which gang he belonged. When he didn't answer, they shot him down. His father heard the shots and went outside to see his boy bleeding on the sidewalk. [A youth 'on track' until fatal gunfire, By Paloma Esquivel, Paul Pringle and Francisco Vara-Orta, LA Times, March 4, 2008]

Jamiel had no gang connections. He was apparently just another random victim of Hispanic gangsters killing blacks to drive them out of their corner of Aztlan. The promising football star had received inquiries from Stanford and Rutgers universities about a possible athletic scholarship. His mother, Army Sgt. Anita Shaw, was called home from her second tour of duty in Iraq after the murder of her son.

The family is crushed. Dad Jamiel Sr. said they have "simply lost everything."

No arrests have been made in the case. The family is asking the public for help in bringing the killers to justice.

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As U.S. border tightens, smugglers raise their game

By Tim Gaynor
REUTERS
1:03 a.m.
March 10, 2008

NACO, Ariz. – When U.S. authorities raised a tall curtain of steel through this tiny Arizona border town to prevent people crossing illegally from Mexico, the smugglers on the south side were ready.

Using blowtorches and welding gear they burned a rectangular gate in the barrier large enough to drive a truck through, then they sealed it with a padlock to use it at their leisure, border police say.

As the U.S. government pushes ahead with an unprecedented security buildup along the porous Mexico border in this presidential election year, profit-hungry Mexican drug and human smugglers the length of the line are raising their game.

Border police are encountering ingenious and often simply brazen attempts to foil security at both the ports of entry and empty spaces along the nearly 2,000 mile border by human and drug smuggling organizations.

“The more fencing and the more manpower that they see, the bolder the smugglers are becoming,” Border Patrol agent Dove Haber said as she stood by the tall steel wall in Naco, which is patched most days by a busy repair team.

“Before we had the amount of technology and manpower and infrastructure that we have, they were able to operate with some impunity, and they don't want to see that change.”

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Shootout with soldiers kills 7 in northern Mexico

Posted: March 9, 2008 02:01 PM

MEXICO CITY (AP) - A bloody shootout between soldiers and gunmen in northern Mexico left six suspects and a military captain dead and wounded seven others, Mexico's Defense Department said Sunday.

Soldiers responded to a report Friday night that armed gunmen were hiding out in a house in the northern city of Chihuahua, the department said in a statement. The suspects opened fire and launched fragmentation grenades at soldiers when they arrived at the scene, the statement said.

The six suspects killed in the ensuing gun battle have yet to be identified and three others were arrested at the scene, the statement said.

Authorities also seized 10 high-powered rifles, 12 fragmentation grenades and seven bulletproof vests.

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Ex-drug cartel leader deported

By Daniel Borunda / for the Sun-News
Article Launched: 03/07/2008 06:12:00 AM MST

EL PASO — A former boss of the Tijuana drug cartel was deported to Mexico through El Paso earlier this week, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed.

Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix, who along with his brothers ran the cartel, had finished serving a sentence on drug charges in U.S. federal prison.

ICE spokeswoman Leticia Zamarripa said that Arellano Felix, 58, had been at an El Paso immigration detention center since Feb. 2 awaiting a hearing before an immigration judge.

On Monday, an immigration judge ordered the former cartel boss deported to his native Mexico, Zamarripa said.

On Tuesday, ICE officers escorted Arrellano Felix to the top of the Stanton Street Bridge, where he was handed over to Mexican immigration officers and agents of the Mexican federal attorney general's office, known as the PGR.

The San Diego Union-Tribune, citing anonymous sources in the PGR, reported that Arrellano Felix was freed because he did not have any pending charges in Mexico. The Arrellano-Felix cartel in Tijuana has been one of the top three drug-trafficking organizations in Mexico.

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ICE arrests more than 600 illegal aliens in Phoenix

Drop houses identified across the metropolitan area with help of local police

PHOENIX - More than 50 illegal aliens were discovered at a drop house in Avondale today, bringing the total number of aliens arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to more than 600 in the past seven days.

"While this is the time of year in which we normally see an increase in illegal alien traffic in Arizona, this past week has been exceptionally busy," said Katrina S. Kane, field office director of the ICE office of detention and removal operations in Arizona. "The cooperative efforts ICE has developed with local law enforcement agencies and the vigilance of those officers are making it much more difficult for human smugglers to avoid detection in the Phoenix area."

Nearly every day in the last week, large human smuggling loads were uncovered across the valley.

Today's drop house was discovered by the Avondale Police Department, resulting in the arrest of 55 illegal aliens.

Yesterday, the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office (YCSO) uncovered a drop house in Black Canyon City, turning 40 illegal aliens over to ICE for removal.

On Saturday, March 8, the Avondale Police Department found 82 illegal aliens in a drop house.

On Friday, March 7, a drop house in Phoenix was identified, and 43 illegal aliens were arrested at that location.

On Thursday, March 6, YCSO deputies found 34 illegal aliens in two traffic stops north of the valley. The Phoenix Police Department also discovered a drop house containing 38 illegal aliens.

On Wednesday, March 5, two drop houses were discovered in Glendale and Mesa, holding 59 and 24 illegal immigrants respectively.

"These arrests send a clear message to human smugglers that it is no longer business as usual in Phoenix," said Kane. "We have built a strong team to combat human smuggling in Arizona, and we are now seeing the results of these efforts."

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Drug trafficker admits to importing nearly 450 pounds of cocaine

The Associated Press

Article Launched: 03/11/2008 12:21:48 PM MDT

DALLAS—A drug trafficker who admitted to bringing nearly 450 pounds of cocaine across the border into Texas pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.

Adrian Estaban Sanchez Heredia, 49, faces up to life in prison and a $4 million fine. His sentencing is scheduled for June 27.

Heredia admitted to importing about 440 pounds of cocaine from Mexico in 2002 and paying couriers to hide the drugs in the back seats and gas tanks of their cars, according to court documents.

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Fed neglect hurts border counties

Opinion by Sharon Bronson

It's no secret that the federal government's efforts to secure our border with Mexico have been a catastrophic failure. What's little known, however, is the enormous cost to residents of border counties that has resulted from these ineffective policies.

A research report commissioned by the U.S.-Mexico Border Counties Coalition and performed by the University of Arizona was released this month. It quantifies these costs to the 24 counties along the U.S.-Mexico border in the area of criminal justice and they are staggering.

Collectively, all border counties in the United States spent $1.23 billion of their local budgets during the past eight years to process undocumented immigrants who were arrested for committing crimes. In Pima County this eight-year total was more than $95 million, with almost $15 million spent in 2006 alone. And if these totals reflected the costs related to health care and emergency services for undocumented immigrants, that number could double.

These extra costs are being borne by law enforcement, prosecutors, public defenders, courts and the jail. The U.S. government has acknowledged the fiscal burdens placed on county government as a result of federal policies related to immigration and security by implementing programs like the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program and the Southwest Border Prosecution Initiative. However, less than 3 percent of these costs were reimbursed by the federal government though, clearly, they have allowed this situation to escalate to critical proportions.

The result is that in addition to the overall degradation of the quality of life for county residents as a result of this exported violence and crime, county taxpayers are shouldering a disproportionate burden to pay for these services. We are paying more simply because we are geographically first in line to the problem.

In fact, the dramatically escalating violence associated with illegal immigration, drugs and other contraband along Pima County's border with Mexico has led Sheriff Clarence Dupnik to establish a Border Crimes Unit at an initial cost of $1.8 million.

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Rules, decisions hard to figure for those seeking visitors visa

But with millions overstaying approved visits, consular officials are leery about all applicants
By Brady McCombs
ARIZONA DAILY STAR

HERMOSILLO, Sonora — The tears well up in Velia Johana Castro's eyes as she repeats what the consular officer told her just minutes earlier.

"He said, 'You didn't qualify yesterday, you don't qualify today, and you won't qualify tomorrow,' " Castro, 19, says in Spanish, as her fiance, Jose Eduardo Alvarez, 21, kisses her forehead and pulls her into his arms.

The young couple from Guasave, Sinaloa, say they wanted to visit Velia's aunt and uncle in Ontario, Calif., for a honeymoon following their February wedding.

I don't want to hear any more whining about how long it takes to get permission to come to the US when nearly half or almost 6 million of those Mexicans currently illegally in the US have overstayed their welcome. These are criminals who were welcomed into our country and then chose to abuse our system by refusing to obey the law and either renew their visas or return to their native land when they permission to be here ended. I won't listen to the whining. I don't care how many tears are shed. Rather than being angry with the US, they should pour out their anger on their fellow countrymen who have abused the system, resulting in the wait and the restrictions - Mexicans are to blame, not the US government! -mm

But in the eyes of the consular officer, they didn't present a compelling enough case — through bank accounts, property ownership, social and family ties — to convince him they would return to Mexico afterward. Officers are trained to assume every applicant intends to overstay a tourist visa to live and work in the United States.

There's a reason the U.S. government has such rigid rules. As many as 45 percent of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States overstayed non-immigrant visas, a May 2006 study from the Pew Hispanic Study found. The study estimated that 250,000 to 500,000 of that group had border-crossing cards, or laser visas, available only to Mexicans.

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Illegals cost border counties $192M

Study: Latest figures show cost to Az $26.6M for jailings, prosecutions

DIANA MARRERO

Published: 03.05.2008

WASHINGTON - Illegal immigration is costing Arizona border counties millions of dollars a year for law enforcement and criminal prosecutions - diverting money from parks, libraries and other law enforcement efforts, according to a study to be released Wednesday.

The costs to the four border counties in Arizona have increased by 39 percent from $19.2 million in 1999 to $26.6 million in fiscal 2006, researchers at the University of Arizona and San Diego State University found.

Costs totaled $192 million for the nation's 24 border counties in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas - more than double the costs in 1999.

The study was commissioned by the U.S./Mexico Border Counties Coalition, a nonprofit group of border county officials who want the federal government to reimburse their county jails and prosecutors' offices for those costs.

"The study is important because for the most part, these border counties are small, they're rural, they're very poor and this is a tremendous hit to their county budgets," said Tanis Salant, a public policy lecturer at the University of Arizona and the study's main author.

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Mistrial in case of Border Patrol agent accused of killing migrant

ARTHUR H. ROTSTEIN

Published: 03.08.2008

A federal judge declared a mistrial Friday in the case of a U.S. Border Patrol agent charged with fatally shooting an illegal immigrant from Mexico.

Jurors who had been deliberating the fate of agent Nicholas Corbett since late Tuesday told the judge they were hopelessly deadlocked.

Corbett was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and negligent homicide in the January 2007 death of 22-year-old Francisco Javier Dominguez Rivera of Puebla, Mexico. Jurors could convict on only one charge.

Corbett testified that Dominguez was going to smash his head with a rock and he fired in self-defense.

Dominguez's two brothers testified that he was surrendering and was shot without provocation.

"I'm disappointed that the jury did not acquit him," said Sean Chapman, Corbett's attorney. "We are prepared to try it again, and I believe he's innocent. I believe another jury will acquit him."

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Cops find 80 suspected immigrants at house

The Arizona Republic

Published: 03.10.2008

Police discovered 80 suspected illegal immigrants in and near an Avondale house Saturday evening after they received a tip about suspicious activity.

According to police, an anonymous caller reported numerous cars coming and going in the neighborhood.

An officer found 13 illegal immigrants inside a minivan leaving the house.

Police said officers soon discovered 67 suspected illegal immigrants inside the house. Some were coming and going; others were hiding in the attic in an attempt to avoid capture, police said.

Police said the immigrants, men and women, all appeared unharmed.

Police described it as one of the largest drop houses found in Avondale.

"It's got to be one of our biggest ones, if not the biggest one," said Sgt. Memo Espinoza, a police spokesman.

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Transportation secretary: Stopping Mexican trucks will hurt economy

The Associated Press

Published: 03.10.2008

Transportation Secretary Mary Peters is urging Congress to continue allowing Mexican trucks full access to roads in the United States.

She warned on Monday halting the trucks would hurt the agricultural economy and other businesses.

The Bush administration began allowing Mexican trucks full access to U.S. roadways last year to comply with the North American Free Trade Agreement. The agreement also allows U.S. trucks into Mexico.

Mexican trucks previously had to stop within a buffer border zone and transfer their loads to U.S. trucks.

Congress tried to stop the program by stripping money for the project from the Department of Transportation last year.

Some groups oppose trucks' entry fearing their drivers may compete with U.S. drivers or their trucks are unsafe.

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Spring breakers abandon 'Two Nation Vacation' on Mexico fears

CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN

Published: 03.10.2008

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas — Michigan State senior Paul Bonenberger avoided temptation during this island's season for wild spring break partying by leaving his passport at home.

"I've heard tons of (stuff) about the border," said Bonenberger, 21, two beers in hand and surrounded by hundreds of Midwestern spring breakers on the beach. "I've heard it's unsafe. I'm not about the border anymore, it's not worth the risk."

Once, most South Padre spring breakers visited nearby Matamoros, Mexico, for the touted "Two Nation Vacation."

But news of gun battles between soldiers and drug cartels in Mexican border cities this winter appears to have reached even the frigid campuses of the upper Midwest. Tourists have not been targeted, but students and tourism officials on both sides of the border say spring breakers are keeping their toes in U.S. sand this year.

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Official: Wanted drug trafficker should get Venezuela trial

FABIOLA SANCHEZ

Published: 03.10.2008

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — One of the U.S. government's most-wanted drug trafficking suspects has been captured in Venezuela and should be tried in the South American country, the justice minister said Monday.

The United States had offered a reward of up to $5 million for the arrest of Hermagoras Gonzalez Polanco, and Justice Minister Ramon Rodriguez Chacin said he was detained on Saturday.

"I think he should be tried here in Venezuela," Rodriguez told reporters. "We aren't afraid of investigating here in Venezuela."

He said authorities believe Gonzalez has committed crimes in Venezuela, and they would investigate whether some officials him with official identification cards. Images of a National Guard ID card purportedly held by Gonzalez circulated after his capture.

"We don't hide the truth," Rodriguez said, pledging that anyone who might have aided him will be prosecuted.

U.S. and Colombian officials have alleged that corrupt Venezuelan military officers protected Gonzalez. President Hugo Chavez, meanwhile, has accused Washington and Bogota of unfairly labeling Venezuela a drug haven for political reasons.

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Senator battles program allowing Mexican trucks

Published: 03.10.2008
SUZANNE GAMBOA
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A senator wants Congress' investigative arm to determine whether the Transportation Department has broken the law by spending federal money on a program allowing Mexican trucks on U.S. roads.

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., called for the investigation by the General Accountability Office a few hours after Transportation Secretary Mary Peters warned of economic losses if Mexican trucks are prohibited from driving deep into the U.S.

Peters has been fighting in court to prevent the program's end. But Dorgan and others say Congress prohibited spending money on the program last year.

"When Congress passes a law that says no funds can be used for this program, we mean no funds can be used for this program," Dorgan said in a news release. "The Department of Transportation cannot simply pick and choose which laws they want to follow and which laws they want to break."

Dorgan said the agency is violating the Antideficiency Act, which prohibits spending federal money that has not been authorized or appropriated.

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Border Patrol Agents in Texas Seize $1.6 Million Worth of Cocaine

Friday, March 07, 2008

Laredo, Texas – Border Patrol agents assigned to the Freer station seized 50.64 pounds of cocaine Thursday.

Agents working at the checkpoint on Highway 59 conducted an immigration inspection on a Honda sedan. During the inspection a Border Patrol canine alerted agents toward the back door of the car, indicating the possible presence of hidden contraband or people.

Agents searched the rear of the vehicle and discovered a compartment between the back seat and a large speaker box that was mounted in the trunk. Inside the compartment, agents found four bundles of cocaine. The cocaine had a total weight of 50.64 pounds and an estimated street value of $1,620,480.

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National Guard Soldiers Stop Illegal Entry Attempt in Texas

Friday, March 07, 2008

Laredo, Texas – Texas National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Laredo sector as part of Operation Jump Start foiled an attempt by three people to illegally enter the United States on Thursday.

The soldiers responded to reports of suspicious activity near the Rio Grande River in Laredo. They observed three people walk out of the brush along the riverbank and get into a vehicle that drove up to meet them. As the vehicle drove away, the soldiers followed it at a safe distance. After the vehicle traveled a short way, the driver noticed that the soldiers were following behind. Without warning, all four occupants jumped out of the vehicle while it was still in motion.

The soldiers were able to detain all of the subjects until Border Patrol agents arrived to the scene.

A passerby was able to stop the vehicle before it ran off the roadway.

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Frustrated Smugglers Resort to Violence Against Border Patrol

Friday, March 07, 2008

Calexico, Calif. – Frustrated criminals increasingly are using violence to intimidate U.S. Border Patrol enforcement efforts by brazenly attacking agents near Calexico, Calif.

Yesterday afternoon at approximately 1 p.m., Border Patrol agents from the El Centro station were working three miles west of the Calexico port of entry when a group of suspected illegal aliens attempted to raft across the All-American Canal. The group, while still in close proximity to the border and having witnessed the quick response by nearby agents, was able to return back to Mexico before being apprehended.

After having returned to Mexico with the group of illegal aliens, three masked assailants/smugglers then re-entered the United States and began aggressively throwing rocks and threatening agents with physical injury. The agents on scene had to deploy their non-lethal force pepper ball launcher systems and saturated the area to subdue the assailants’ hostile actions. they eventually retreated back to Mexico.

No injuries were reported regarding this incident.

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Border Patrol in Texas Seizures Net Almost $1 Million Worth of Marijuana

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Del Rio, Texas – U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Del Rio, Texas sector recently seized more than 1,100 pounds of marijuana using different methods of enforcement including traffic checkpoints, roving patrol, and river patrol.

The largest seizure was made at the Del Rio station checkpoint. A detector canine alerted to the vehicle, and agents discovered the narcotics during a search of the vehicle. The vehicle was sent to secondary inspection, and as a second vehicle pulled up for immigration inspection, the canine alerted to this vehicle as well. It was later determined that the two vehicles were associated and running in tandem in the hopes one would make it through the checkpoint.

A total of 375 pounds of marijuana, valued at $300,000 was discovered hidden in the trunk of both vehicles concealed in the luggage and spare tire well. The contraband and subjects from both vehicles were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

In another drug seizure, Border Patrol agents were responding to activity on a Rio Grande River landing encountered six individuals walking out of the cane on a trail leading away from the river. The six individuals dropped what they were carrying and ran back to Mexico.

The agents recovered four large burlap sacks left on the trail. In the four burlap sacks there was more than 300 pounds of marijuana valued at over $240,000. The contraband was turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for disposal.

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