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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    AZ: Cochise County Militia patrol border areas

    Cochise County Militia patrol border areas
    Posted: Jul 03, 2010 9:38 PM PDT Updated: Jul 03, 2010 9:38 PM PDT

    TOMBSTONE, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) – Instead of barbecuing with family or traveling for vacation, members of the Cochise County Militia are spending their holiday weekend staking out spots near the border to fight illegal immigration and drug smuggling.

    Trained militia members are patrolling various desert areas near Tombstone starting Saturday afternoon, hoping to spot illegal immigrants and drug traffickers who are making their way across the border.

    "Certainly, I would rather be home barbecuing. My wife begged me not to come. But it's something inside that I have to do," said Arthur Tomlin, who is patrolling for the first time since the group started the tradition nearly a decade ago. "I'm not trying to paint a patriotic picture here. I am just concerned."

    Many members say they are filling a gap left by a federal government that has failed to address the problem of border crime and local governments that lack the resources and funding to attacking a growing problem.

    "Our local people are overwhelmed and they're doing all that they can…It's the federal government that refuses to come down here to protect us," said Harold Hubbard, who believes organized drug and human trafficking have increased over the last couple of years have. "We have to protect ourselves."

    The men are armed, they say, purely for self-defense.

    "I have a nine-millimeter and a shotgun with some pretty heavy loads. You know, I don't want to shoot anybody but I don't want anybody to shoot me either," Tomlin said.

    Bill Davis founder of the Cochise County Militia say members contact Border Patrol as soon as they spot illegal immigrants, and Border Patrol has been very receptive towards their efforts.

    "We do not apprehend. We do not chase. We do not follow. We contact border patrol every time we see any kind of illegal activity going on wherever we're located," said member Jene Kambouris.

    Some members say the patrolling is not a political statement; rather, it's a matter of increasing safety for the communities near the border.

    "[Drug cartels] are getting more daring with the weapons and the shootings right next to the border coming over this way. Somebody's has to do something and maybe this is our way of bringing light to the situation," Tomlin said.
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  2. #2
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006
    Cochise County militia on night patrol

    Posted: 07/04/2010
    Last Updated: 3 hours and 44 minutes ago

    * By: Christina Boomer By: Christina Boomer

    I was embedded with the Cochise County Border Militia during their 4th of July border patrol operation. This is a blog post about the night patrol.

    The Cochise County Border Militia is clearly a conglomeration of individuals from various backgrounds, professions, cities and states. What they share is a belief that the government isn't doing enough to protect America from a rising tide of illegal workers and the violence caused by drug and human smugglers.

    Doug Evans of the Cochise County Border Militia stoically surveyed the darkened canyons and stream beds of a large desert wash near the 1,500 person city of Tombstone, AZ.

    His frame was barely visible as a black silhouette set against the body of his SUV.

    The sky above was punctuated by thousands of tiny lights, more stars than I have ever seen in my lifetime.

    We were on night patrol.

    Evans explained how the clearing he found overlooks the point in the wash where several stream beds converge. He likened it to side streets feeding into a highway.

    We were 30 miles from the border with Mexico but Evans said this wash was on the front lines of a major human smuggling corridor.

    The groups cross through here until they hit the power lines to our west, explained Evans, then they follow the power lines north.

    Evans' job is to listen for footsteps, the snapping of mesquite tree limbs and hushed conversations.

    He said the curves of these gullies and canyons help carry voices for up to a mile.

    He is also looking for flashlights. He said smugglers will turn them off and on to make sure their group is on the right path. So Evans is looking for bits of flickering light.

    As a rancher, Evans makes a livelihood listening and standing silent in nature; skills that serve him well while on watch. He moved to Tombstone from Montana and at times wonders if that was such a wise idea.

    At first he didn't mind the few illegal migrants he discovered walking through his property or along Highway 82.

    But after people in the area began sharing stories about break-ins, vandalism and armed smugglers who victimize the very people who pay them to help them cross, Evans and his wife began carrying a gun and locking their doors.

    The shooting-death of Douglas rancher Rob Krentz changed everything. No one knows who killed him, but lots of people have theories. Cochise County Sheriff's Office detectives found tracks leading south to the Mexican border. Evans is convinced it was someone from a Mexican Drug Cartel and now worries that the criminal gangs that oversee drug and human smuggling routes through Arizona are growing more confident, more brazen.

    He points to another example of his theory closer to the Phoenix area. A Pinal County Sheriff's deputy who said while on a solo patrol he encountered what may have been cartel members armed with AK-47's. The clatter of gunfire can be heard on the deputy's call to 911. At least one bullet grazed him he said, crime scene photos revealing a red streak across his torso.

    Evans, like many in his group, makes a distinction that can be muddied during debates about illegal immigration in the greater Phoenix-area. They are not worried about the people coming here for a better life, he said, but the smugglers charting their passage. There is also concern that terrorists may be taking advantage of our porous border.

    There is a compassion expressed for the families that brave the harsh desert heat and its scorpions, rattle snakes and thorns. But illegal is illegal and Evans said America must be more proactive on increasing military presence along the border.

    He wonders why we send troops to die in Iraq and Afghanistan to protect foreign borders when they could be right here in America protecting our Southern border.

    Morning comes without incident, but Evans isn't disappointed one bit.

    It's like fishing; he said with a smile, you can still enjoy the experience even if you don't catch anything.

    It is a personal sacrifice of both comfort and time with his family for a cause bigger than himself.

    From any other view outside theirs this mission may seem pointless. But when you live with the impact of illegal immigration on a daily basis, playing a role to help stem it makes a lot of sense.

    For him, he can now celebrate the 4th of July with the knowledge that he did something to help protect his community. It makes him feel good, honorable, and noble.

    It makes him feel like a patriot.
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