Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

September 2021
S M T W T F S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



Tag: Arizona

Arizona Border Patrol Station to be Named After Slain Agent Brian Terry

Brian Terry

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Border Patrol station in Bisbee, Ariz. will be renamed after agent Brian Terry, who was shot to death last December.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, introduced the bill in the House this week.

“Our nation’s Border Patrol agents have a distinguished history of working to protect our borders,” Issa said in a statement. “Agent Terry, who served our nation through his military service and his career with the Border Patrol, gave his life defending this country. Naming the Bisbee station in his honor recognizes his sacrifice, service and heroism.”

“In the past half-century, 70 U.S. Border Patrol agents – including Agent Terry – have been killed while protecting our nation,” added Pia Carusone, chief of staff for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), whose office worked with Issa on the legislation.

Terry’s family issued a statement, saying, “From the very start, Brian loved his job as a Border Patrol agent and loved his fellow agents. The new Naco Station named in Brian’s honor will serve as a lasting memory for all those who knew Brian.”

Terry became a central figure in the investigation into the controversial ATF operation known as Fast and Furious. Under the program, ATF encouraged gun dealers to sell to middlemen or straw purchasers, all with the hopes of tracing the weapons to the Mexican cartels. Some of those guns showed up at crime scenes on both sides of the border.

In December, Terry was shot and killed while on patrol 14 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border near Rio Rico, Ariz. after getting into an armed confrontation. Two guns from Operation Fast and Furious were found at the scene.

Judge Rules Az. Shooter Jared Loughner Incompetent; Loughner Has Outburst in Court

Jared Loughner/pima county sheriff photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In a ruling that comes as little surprise, a federal judge on Wednesday in Arizona ruled that Jared L. Loughner, who killed 6 and wounded 13 others including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, is not mentally competent to stand trial, the New York Times reported.

U.S. District Judge  Larry A. Burns of  Tucson ruled that Loughner will be sent to a psychiatric facility until Sept. 21. At that point,  a hearing will be held to revisit his competency,   the New York Times reported.

If his status remains the same, he’ll be periodically re-evaluated.

“At the present time, Mr. Loughner does not have a rational understanding of these proceedings,” Judge Burns said, according to the Times.

The Times reported that the judge issued the ruling minutes after Loughner, 22, was dragged out of the courtroom. At one point he shouted, according to the Times:

“Thank you for the freak show. She died right in front of me. You’re treasonous.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

2 U.S. Border Agents Killed After Being Hit by Train

Hector Clark/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Two U.S. Border Patrol agents were killed early Thursday morning  in Arizona when their vehicle was hit by a 90-car freight train, authorities said. The agents were assisting in the apprehension of illegal immigrants who entered the country.

The agents were identified as Hector R. Clark, 39, and Eduardo Rojas Jr., 35.

The incident happened about 9 miles west of Gila Bend, Az., in an area patrolled by the Yuma Sector of the Border Patrol, according to Kenneth Quillin, a supervisory Border Patrol agent based in Arizona. The incident happened about 80 miles from the Mexican border at Paloma Road near exit 106 of I-8.

Quillin said the men were in an unmarked SUV when they were hit by a Union Pacific freight train around 6 a.m.

“On behalf of the entire U.S. Customs and Border Protection family, I would like to share our heartfelt sympathy to the family, friends, and colleagues of Hector R. Clark and Eduardo Rojas Jr. as we mourn their passing,” Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan D. Bersin said in a statement.

Eduardo Rojas Jr/gov photo

Authorities said Clark began his career with the U.S. Border Patrol on August 20, 2001 and was first assigened to the El Centro Sector and was serving as a Lead Border Patrol Agent in the Yuma Sector in Arizona.

Clark, a native of Yuma, Ariz., is survived by his wife and two children.

Agent Rojas entered the U.S. Border Patrol on April 9, 2000, and was assigned to the Yuma Sector, authorities said.

At the time of the accident, he was serving as a Lead Border Patrol Agent in the Yuma Sector. Agent Rojas was a native of El Paso, Tex.,and is survived by his wife and two children, the agency said.

Sophisticated Drug Tunnel Found at Mexico-Az Border

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Drug tunnels continue to pop up along the U.S.-Mexican border.

The latest: The Associated Press reports that authorities discovered in Nogales, Az., a fairly sophisticated 250-foot-long unfinished tunnel underneath the U.S.-Mexico border that had electricity, water pumps and ventilation.

AP reported that Chief Border Patrol Agent Randy Hill says the tunnel was more sophisticated than others recently unearthed and that the builders had to chisel through solid rock.

AP reported that the tunnel was 15 feet beneath the ground. It started in an abandoned building in Nogales on the Mexican side and was still undergoing construction on the American side.

Gun Dealer Was Concerned About ATF’s Gun-Walking Program


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A controversial ATF gun-walking program apparently concerned an Arizona gun dealer, who like many others, had been encouraged by ATF to keep selling weapons to straw purchasers, all with the hopes agents would trace them to the higher levels of the Mexican drug cartels.

Problem was some of those guns sold by gun dealers got into the hands of criminals and may have been used in the fatal shooting of at least one federal agent.

Sen. Charles Grassley, who has been on the war path, attacking ATF for its programs — Project Gunrunner and its offshoot Operation Fast and Furious — released emails on Thursday from a concerned Arizona gun dealer. The emails were forwarded along with a letter to Atty. Eric Holder Jr. in which Grassley pointedly complained that the Justice Department had not released to him documents on the programs.

In one email, Grassley notes that the gun dealer — whose name was blacked out — raised concerns to ATF supervisor David Voth:

“I shared my concerns with you guys that I wanted to make sure that none of the firearms that were sold per our conversation with you and various ATF agents could or would ever end up south of the border and in the hands of the bad guys…I want to help ATF with its investigation, but not at the risk of agents’ safety because I have some very close friends that are U.S. border patrol agents in southern Arizona.”

Agent Voth replied on April 13, 2010:
“I understand that the frequency with which some individuals under investigation by our office have been purchasing firearms from your business has caused concerns for you. I totally understand and am not in a position to tell you how to run your business.

“However, if it helps put you at ease we (ATF) are continually monitoring these suspects using a variety of investigative techniques which I cannot go into detail. … Just know that we cannot instruct you on how to run your business, but your continued cooperation with our office has greatly aided the investigation thus far.”

Grassley said the gun dealers were put in a bad spot.

“On the one hand, these gun dealers rely upon the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for their license to even be able to be in business,” he said in a statement.

“So, of course, these agents (Federal Firearms Licensees) want to cooperate with the government. When you have got this big club hanging over your head, will you be licensed or not licensed. On the other hand, the government asks these gun dealers to keep selling to the bad guys even after the dealers warned that it might end in tragedy.”

Grassley has indicated that some of the guns sold to straw purchases may have been used in the fatal shooting of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in Arizona last December. He is also trying to determine if any of the guns were used in the February fatal shooting in Mexico of ICE agent Jaime Zapata and the wounding of another agent.

Read Grassley letter and emails

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

2 Suspects Caught With Drugs in Tunnel at Arizona-Mexico Border


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

There are endless reminders of the cat-and-mouse game that goes on along the Southwest border of the U.S.

The latest: Border Patrol agents and the Nogales Police Department arrested two people last week trying to smuggle more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana through a drainage tunnel at the Mexico-Arizona border, KVOA TV reported.

Authorities conducted a sweep of the tunnel after hearing voices in the drainage tunnel and caught the suspects as they tried heading back to Mexico, the station reported.

Proceedings in Loughner Case Will be Held in Tucson Instead of Phoenix

Jared Loughner/pima county sheriff photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Proceedings in the case against Arizona mass shooter Jared Loughner will take place in Tucson instead of Phoenix, a judge ruled on Monday, the Arizona Republic reported.

However, U.S. District Judge Larry A. Burns noted that the ruling didn’t nix the defendant’s right to move for a change of venue in the future, the Arizona Republic reported.

Prosecutors had asked that the proceedings be moved to Tucson to make it more convenient for witnesses and victims in the case.

The next hearing is set for March 9.

Sen. Grassley Accuses ATF of Being “Careless” in Gun Running Sting

Sen. Grassley/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Ia.) is voicing concern that guns purchased in an ATF sting in Arizona may have been used by bandits in a gunfight that resulted in the death in December of  border patrol agent Brian Terry near the border town of Nogales, the Arizona Republic reported.

Grassley fired off a letter to the head of ATF Kenneth Melson on Thursday suggesting ATF was being negligent by letting criminals circulate the weapons after they purchased them during a sting.

“There are serious concerns that the ATF may have become careless, if not negligent, in implementing the Gunrunner strategy,” he wrote, according to the Arizona Republic.

The paper reported that Grassley said he had information that the AK-47s recovered at the shooting scene of the agent were traced to Project Gunrunner, a much touted gun-program aimed at curbing the flow of weapons to Mexico.

“Members of the Judiciary Committee have received numerous allegations that the ATF sanctioned the sale of hundreds of assault weapons to suspected straw purchasers, who then allegedly transported these weapons throughout the southwestern border area and into Mexico,” the senator wrote in the  letter, according to the paper.

“According to the allegations, one of these individuals purchased three assault rifles with cash in Glendale, Arizona, on January 16, 2010. Two of the weapons were then allegedly used in a firefight on December 14, 2010, against Customs and Border Protection agents, killing CBP Agent Brian Terry,” he wrote.

Tom Mangan, an ATF spokesman in Phoenix, told he Arizona Republic that he was “unaware of any guns allowed to go south of the border,” either intentionally or inadvertently. “I am not aware of any internal investigation that’s going on regarding Project Gunrunner.”

Manuel Johnson, an FBI agent in Phoenix, declined to comment, as did the U.S. Border Patrol, the Republic reported.