SOUTHWEST BORDER WARS or MEXICO: THE WAR NEXT DOOR
“PECK CANYON is heavily patrolled and the terrain rugged.”
Few saw that the US-MEXICO BORDER would tear apart families or tribes whose cultures and languages are threatened but the cities that sprang up on both sides were predictable the division created entrepreneurial opportunity which sprung from the law, culture and needs of society. The international border became a way of life, a geological oddity (like the Grand Canyon) right in their own backyard, if their property had backed up to a great viewpoint they would have set up a pay parking lot and required admission.
The fence or border brought traders who provided the needs of the locals, like Sasabe Merchantile sells both parlor and kitchen stoves all wood-burning and priced for a population where electricity and gas are a new world commodity. Until recently, places like the San Miguel Gate, (a strip of no man’s land) became a row of boxes and traders on Saturday mornings who tried to sell goods to folks who needed their products from either sides of the border.
Recently I spoke with a young man who grew up in the Peck Canyon corridor and he believed crossings may be down “but business was being done, and if a load needed to go, it went and arrived intact! Business has been conducted through Peck Canyon since the day when Geronimo used those foothills’s perfect cover as he made tracks for the border. In our last posting, a local deer hunter said, “all border traffic was being funneled into Peck Canyon” much of this because of the high-tech sensing equipment elsewhere and the high profiles of the National Guard and additional manpower to the Border Patrol.
Unique to Peck Canyon, is the mixing of wilderness and residential, its close proximity to dense high
desert terrain and I-19, which is next to the large Border Patrol Checkpoint on I-19. I thought it would be quite easy for drug cartels to own several houses along I-19 where folks could move north from one house to another, for $5000 a head, many things are possible, like tunnels. Locals can think of four or five houses that might fit that description or have, from time to time. Likewise, the bandits who prey on crossers and smugglers alike, they probably live right there and know the terrain like the back of their hand and could be watching TV while border patrol searches.
Maybe, these Border businessmen started out young as mules! Perhaps, in the beginning they carried marijuana on their backs into the US, for $200 a pound, forty pounds equals $8000, 50 pounds or $10000, whatever they could carry quickly. Once in, they drop their load in a remote spot and hotfoot back to Mexico. When they drop their packs a man on a hillside watches and carefully telephones “his crew” who he directs to the load and they bring it further north. For decades, people have stuffed their doors and wheel wells full with pounds of grass and more than 200 pounds might be stuffed into a single ride to travel north without a second look. Driver of a loaded car might make $2000 traveling between Rio Rico and Tucson where the keys are passed to new driver to take the car on into Phoenix. This practice limits anyone person having full knowledge of the network. Lots of stolen or borrowed cars end up abandoned in the desert and they are quickly stripped by yet other border entrepreneurial opportunity. Living on the border separates families and social responsibilities can collide with professional responsibilities may result in a phone call home where an agent tells his wife he is stopping for bread on the way home. That might mean he will not be on a certain mountain and that route will be open for cousin Jaime to bring his load through. Some people living on the line, say “it business!” and others, call it “family”. Anything is possible, here. If a load needs to go, it does so successfully!
Here are some links to recent articles on the Peck Canyon and its every growing violence and how the cartels are pushing back against Mexico and USA …
A Border Patrol swat team member was shot and killed Tuesday night in a gun battle with suspected bandits south of Tucson. Agent Brian A. Terry, 40, was killed when his team exchanged fire with a group of five people about 11 p.m. in a remote area west of Rio Rico, said the FBI. Four of the five suspected bandits were in custody Wednesday morning, including one man who was hospitalized with gunshot wounds. Border Patrol since “have buttoned down the Pena Blanca Lake area” covering all the squeeze points and by placing agents on quads and horseback into the interior they are looking for a fifth member of the group. The shooting occurred in a remote area near Forest Service Road 4197, west of Interstate 19, said Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada. When deputies arrived at Peck Canyon Drive and Circulo Sombrero in Rio Rico, they found Terry dead of gunshot wounds, Estrada said. The remote area where the shooting occurred is an area frequently used by drug traffickers and people-smugglers.”All these canyons in Santa Cruz County are notorious for smuggling humans and drugs,” Estrada said. “Obviously, it is a very dangerous situation for anyone patrolling those remote areas, particularly for Border Patrol. There is always that threat.”Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Department was only serving in a support role, Estrada said. The FBI is handling the investigation.”Our thoughts and prayers are with the Terry family for their tragic loss,”
Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry was shot and killed Tuesday night in a fire fight with suspected bandits near Rio Rico, south of Tucson.
Mexican Crime Reporter Speaks Out