Thursday, October 9, 2008.
I woke early and joined in coffee and a morning chat with a few other early rising volunteers.
A few Search and Rescue Team volunteers went out to do early-morning scouting.
I spent the morning blogging catching up on e-mails and helping Judy, and others try to figure out a glitch, again, in the satellite Internet system.
A reporter, a journalist from radio Canada arrived an hour early and interviewed other volunteers while I finish my work.
A Border Patrol supervisor stopped by to share the daily Intel report. While we were speaking to him, another kilo unit, followed by an agent on an ATV drove out of the ranch fresh from cutting sign a long the King’s Anvil; they reported no sightings or any foot sign.
I spent about 30 minutes interviewing with the reporter. I was intending to end the interview and do some much-needed scouting to the east, as we continue to seek signs of activity in the area. The reporter wanted to tag along, but only had a short time. So I accommodated him by giving him a short hour-long tour of the ranch.
I was distracted a few minutes by a few phone calls and a couple of other daily administrative tasks at the camp and a loaded up the reporter and reluctantly drove out the line to give him a look see around. I hate to say I was actually looking forward to just completing a short interview and getting rid of this guy because we have so much work to do.
Alas, my generosity and patience paid off, as we had driven just a short distance past the Big Wash when we discovered fresh footprints laid right over the top of recent tire tracks – those made made by Border Patrol and other MCDC scouts.
I counted 12 to 15 sets of footprints, and immediately called our comms operator to relay the message to Border Patrol, who might just still be in the area.
Certainly, the reporter was getting his “money shot” and he seemed excited about what I was telling him. I backtracked my route and took an alternate road that ran north of the area of the initial crossing. This just to get a better sense of the time the group, came through the area, which I knew the group likely no more than an hour down the trail. By that time, an additional search and rescue team had arrived and we all agreed that we would wait on Border Patrol, and not track for rescue aid victims. We hoped Border Patrol would only be 15 minutes from the scene. Unfortunately it took 30 minutes to get Border Patrol back in the area, and they decided to work the group to the north – we never heard or confirmed that they made any apprehensions.
Out of curiosity, I decided to cut the same road further to the west and discovered another four crossings that occurred during the day! Border Patrol agreed this was very uncharacteristic of the patterns, especially at this time of the year, when temperatures still remain in the mid-to high 90s and travel during the day is difficult.
It was clear these areas were going to be hit again, and in just a few hours. See, its typical that when you find signs of crossings that it’s a good bet that two or three other groups are kind of “spaced -apart” from each other and will typically all cross the same area within six to eight hours of each other.
On the way back into camp I decided to reward the reporter with a sit down interview with Pat King, the matriarch of the King’s Anvil ranch. The reporter was courteous and polite during his 15 minute interview with Pat.
He was satisfied with his experience and left camp. I was satisfied to have spend time with him, after all he led me to an important find that will help me set my line tonight.
Working on fresh Intel, and always being prepared to accommodate and be flexible in our response, tonight, we set posts at the exact location of every one of the four crossings, we named it the “Bail-Out line. I was line leader tonight and Big Irish sat the post 15 where the large group crossed earlier today.
This way, we also had a search and rescue member at each end of the line. As line leader I was the SAR rover for the evening. We had a seasoned two-man team just to my west on a trail that had been used by a group of about six earlier in the day. They crossed on the west side of the line and the cattle guard so I positioned the far west team directly on the trail.
I stationed myself on the east side of the fence line in the cattle guard concealing my vehicle behind a large rusted steel water tank. Behind me was a cattle corral and a pond tank.
I’ll admit it. I got caught a bit off guard – no longer that I’ve set the line and decided that after not eating all day I would open up in MRE, than I get the feeling
that I was being approached individuals. I had not even suited up with my equipment vest, but had laid my equipment out across the back of my Jeep, which was being obscured from the south by the steel water tank. This also worked to my disadvantage, in that it obstructed the sound of 2 young males who had managed to get within 200 feet of me before I heard their footsteps. Moments later I heard the footsteps of a larger group to my Southwest. I quickly picked up a night vision unit and located the two young males who were carrying water bottles up to the water water tank to refill. Not wanting to startle them nor deny them water I backed off a few feet away from my location, waited for them to approach lit my flashlight on the ground and said ” Hola’ Nessista e agua?
They paused for a split moment, turned and ran. I could hear them loudly whispering to the rest of the group to retreat.
I was joined by another search and rescue volunteer, and we canvassed the area, hoping to find anyone who may be lost or in need of water. We immediately contacted Border Patrol, and they were dispatching an agent to the area. The two of us search the area, only about a quarter of a square mile before deciding to return to our post. As I was returning to my vehicle by main radio battery died and I had to switch over to a peanut with dead batteries – had to quickly change batteries in the dark – good training.
Of course this was at the very same time, that Big Irish was awaiting a group of 15 individuals who were spotted by the eye in the sky unit. The group approached the fence right in front of our line volunteers and began moving laterally to the east
headed right for post 15.
We also dispatched the call to Border Patrol and called in more agents to our area.
I joined Big Irish at the far east section of our line, and together everyone in that area kept an eye on the group. The group would move further to the south remaining on the south side of the fence is key in our efforts to allow Border Patrol time to respond to our call and apprehend the group to our south rather than chasing them having to chase the group to the north.
Big Irish and I joined the two Border Patrol agents, one was a brand-new tracker trainee. He was obviously getting some field experience by tracking groups at
night. Communicating by radio with the two Border Patrol agents, Big Irish and I helped to cover another quarter square mile of area where we located the tracks of the least 15 individuals who were proceeding to retreat to the southeast -now with Border Patrol agents on their trail.
By that time, our shift was over.
Our teams packed up and returned to camp. Just a few miles away. Border Patrol sent in more ground detail agents at the shift change. They continued their pursuit – we never received confirmation as to whether the group was apprehended or not.
Nonetheless, the two busiest days we’ve had during the operation, so far.
With volunteer groups posted along the border from Texas to California and in many other areas here in Arizona. Everyone is reporting drastic decrease in the number of sightings, and even sign that many IA’s are in our areas of operation at least are not getting as far north as they used to. This a result of Border Patrol’s new aggressive tactics which are leading to a higher percentage of apprehensions.
Consequently, as the numbers of illegal aliens decrease, the frustration of the NAFTA entrepreneurs south of our border increases and will likely soon result in what I predicted would happen in 2003 – that the cartel’s that smuggle drugs, Humans, launder money and smuggle weapons across our borders are now directly challenging the United States government and the violence in Mexico may soon spill across our border. What will our response be this time?
BP Reported on October 9, 2008
Tucson Sector – Border Patrol agents arrested an illegal alien from Mexico near Nogales, Arizona. Records checks revealed the subject was previously removed
from the United States and was a registered sex offender in Maricopa County, Arizona.