Pinal County Sheriff: Mexican drug cartels now control parts of Arizona

The headline read “Pinal County Sheriff: Mexican drug cartels now control parts of Arizona”

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu claimed recently that the western portion of his county had essentially been taken over by the Mexican drug cartel. This is the area where one his deputies was shot by a cartel gunman, and where 2 gunshot victims were found recently.

On Wednesday June 15 the Nogales International reported camouflaged gunmen shot a border crosser near Rio Rico.

There are obvious two very different problems going on along the border.

The first problem is a lot of people crossing to get work or join their families. These folks are not a threat to the health, safety and welfare of Arizonans. They are not killing other people.

The second problem involved guys armed with automatic weapons smuggling drugs and shooting up other people, including killing worker migrants, and shooting at our cops.

You’d think by now with more and more of the countryside being taken over by the cartel and the violence escalating, the United States government would get really serious and saturate the border zone with Border Patrol  agents so no one can even cross the border in the first place without being apprehended within yards of the line.

Not happening.

One can understand the frustration evident in SB 1070…but that nasty piece of legislation doesn’t address the real problem…the cartelistas and their growing reign of terror along the border.

If these guys with their automatic weapons were al Queda, you’d bet there would be a serious response. I don’t get the distinction. A terrorist is a terrorist, and the cartelistas are terrorists. They are moving from terrorizing their side of the border and now reaching into our side and extendng their terroristacts to our law enforcement people. 

For those who want a military solution, the problem is the Posse Comitatus Act.

The Posse Comitatus Act is a United States federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1385) passed on June 18, 1878, after the end of Reconstruction, with the intention (in concert with the Insurrection Act of 1807) of substantially limiting the powers of the federal government to use the military for law enforcement. The Act prohibits most members of the federal uniformed services (today the Army, Navy, Air Force, and State National Guard forces when such are called into federal service) from exercising nominally state law enforcement, police, or peace officer powers that maintain “law and order” on non-federal property (states and their counties and municipal divisions) within the United States.

The statute generally prohibits federal military personnel and units of the National Guard under federal authority from acting in a law enforcement capacity within the United States, except where expressly authorized by the Constitution or Congress. The Coast Guard is exempt from the Act.

The first question to ask, is the invasion of the borderlands by cartel terrorists purely a law enforcement problem, or is it something more?

Sure, both those who cross the border illegaly to find work and those who cross the border with guns are violating the law. But the second group is killing people.

Dealing with the problem from a purely law enforcement angle is not working here. The law enforcement approach is basically run around trying to catch the bad guys after they violate the law.

What is badly needed is a preventative strategy that secures the border from the armed gunmen getting into the US in the first place. That requires a military-type strategy….concentrating resources along the border.

However, because of Possee Comitatus, the National Guard cannot be used in anything except a support role.

Maybe one solution is to deputize all the National Guard troops as county sheriff deputies.

Or we dig a big moat along the border and put the Coast Guard out there.

Or the state legislature, since it is inclined to pass futile laws about the problem, could ban Border Patrol agents from being any farther from the border than 10 miles.

Or the federal government could do the obvious thing and concentrate the existing Border Patrol resources at the border and not all over place like they are now.

The demands of securing the border at the border are coming from everywhere now.

Is anybody in Washington listening?


About Hugh Holub

Attorney and writer.
This entry was posted in border issues, border patrol, border patrol tucson sector, border security, department of homeland security, mexican drug cartels, us customs and border protection and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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