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Archive for November, 2010



Southern Arizona’s Altar Valley, once was a huge Spanish Land Grant, today it is a border battlefield between the Sinaloa cartel’s “Zetas and the Beltran-Leyva cartel” in 2006 the valley was closed to public entry because of incursions. Last week 30 National Guard lined the border making the southern region of the Buenos Aires Wildlife Refuge safe for bird-watchers and fans of the desert pronghorn. Jaime Molina has hunted deer in Fresnal Canyon which parallels the border for a dozen years, most of his adult life, in the past he says he would maybe see 150 crossers from his secret perch, this year Molina brought his new bride and together they got a three point rack but they haven’t seen any crossers, at all. “I’m told all the traffic is being funneled toward Peck Canyon”, he says referring to a canyon further east. This fence is headed that way and everyone is being pushed out of their familiar routes he says. The “fence” is the infamous “virtual fence” which has been plagued by costs overruns and millions of dollars, most recently, it was said it didn’t work and would not be extended.


Anyone who yells, U.S. Government “DO YOUR JOB” protect ARIZONA from MEXICO just flat has never been to the border. Last week I drove halfway across Arizona driving along the border so I have seen, heard and observed the effort being expended to keep elements from the south crossing the border into the United States. It is quite impressive, the efficiency found in the Douglas District is amazing when you see they have an human eye on almost every inch 24/7, these folks sit quietly and watch from portable platforms in the flats near the border. Every mountaintop has been scraped flat and a homeland security trucks sits there seeking heat thermal signatures and flat sees everything that moves across the landscape. That truck doesn’t move until its replacement is in place. Cameras on towers observe favorite crossings and the border itself, is lighted each night at dusk until sunrise, much of the lighting are on poles but where needed, generators are brought in to fill in the gaps. Trucks just sit, watching their piece of the border and where some tracking is needed saddled horse teams or ATVs are trucked in, to initiate the search. Homeland Security is making a clean sweep of the US-MEXICO Border using bundled worn out truck tires to drag clean the soil at the end of each day, so the next morning, they know if anyone, or how many crossed and which way they went.
That is just what you can see. What you can’t see are all the noise sensors, the video cameras, the drone and helicopter over flights and Aerostat, the Southern Arizona mystery of the cold war now made relevant by an invasion on its doorstep. In the NACO Sector, there are a 1000 people assigned there alone and as you move into forest and army land, the presence becomes less in your face and more implied. My last blog on the Border with the National Guard, showed how electronic-monitoring monitors the entire landscape, keeping US turf safe from the hordes from the south. This land from Montezuma Pass west to Nogales makes up the San Rafael Valley, and it probably the most user-friendly land to be crossed because it is treed, water occurs, less cactus more grass land, it is even cooler. West of Nogales is another story and one I will save for another blog. Arrests are down, people still try and some do get through and some are even rescued.
In year 2000, the US Border Patrol arrested 1.7 million, typically 97 per cent of those arrest comes from the 1,952-mile border with Mexico and the rest from Canada. Last year’s arrests were down 72 per cent to 463,000 made this year (down from 556,032 the previous 12 months) by the all-time high 20,500 agents who now backed up by 1200 National Guard troops. Those numbers reflect a 17 per cent drop in arrests this year reflecting the results of the heightened enforcement. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the weak economy also helps explain why fewer people are crossing the border illegally.
The Tethered Aerostat Radar System or TARS is a stationary platform for surveillance, capable of low-level aircraft and surface target detection over 200 nautical miles. The Fort Huachuca AZ deployment in 1986 was the second, today operational sites are located at Yuma and Fort Huachuca, Ariz.; Deming, N.M.; Marfa, Eagle Pass and Rio Grande City, Texas; Cudjoe Key, Fla.; and Lajas, Puerto Rico. They usually fly at 10,000 feet but are capable of altitudes of 15,000 with 25,000 feet of tether length.