According to the County Attorney for Maricopa County, Arizona (by Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas | December 3rd, 2008 ) – Phoenix law enforcement says that Phoenix has now become “”ground zero”” for the violent Mexican drug cartels. There has been a 325% increase in kidnapping for ransom cases in Maricopa County since 2005.
Kidnappings for ransom are increasing in Arizona, as drug cartels and “”coyotes,”” or human smugglers, hold their own customers and other victims for ransom. Special interest groups that favor looking the other way when it comes to illegal immigration insist that illegal immigrants are peaceful, but this naïve outlook doesn’t take into account the violence that inevitably accompanies illegal immigration. This latest wave of violence hitting Arizona puts women and children at risk as they are frequently targeted as hostages and held for ransom. At the same time, combating this new type of Latin American-style violence is increasing the load on our justice system and straining our financial resources.
Powerful illegal drug cartels used to be considered a Latin American phenomenon, limited to countries like Colombia where drug dealers control the government. In recent years, the drug cartels have moved northward illegally into Mexico, turning Mexico into the kidnapping capital of the world. Over 4,400 people have been killed in drug cartel wars in Mexico this year. But the violence hasn’t stopped there. It has continued to move north, as the drug cartels and coyotes found a profitable market crossing the border illegally into the U.S. Phoenix law enforcement says that Phoenix has now become “”ground zero”” for the violent Mexican drug cartels.
Police estimate that over 300 kidnappings are investigated each year in Phoenix. So far this year we’ve had more than 200 referred to our office by law enforcement. There are more that go unreported, because many victims fear retribution from the drug cartels.
Looking the other way at illegal immigration and making excuses to avoid dealing with its associated crime by saying it is the federal government’s responsibility will not stop the coyotes and drug cartels from bringing their Latin American-style violence into the U.S. The federal government is still doing little in this area to protect us. As long as I am County Attorney, I will work to protect the residents of Maricopa County from this new wave of violence.
Las Vegas, Nevada has also seen an increase in the number of drug gang related kidnappings: “Clemens Fred Tinnemeyer, disappeared in May after stealing millions of dollars related to “major drug trafficking,” authorities have said, and investigators think Cole’s kidnapping was intended to send him a message. Tinnemeyer was already at the center of a federal investigation when Cole was kidnapped, Nichols testified. “There was on ongoing investigation involving a ton of money, a ton of drugs and a Mexican cartel that was serious about getting that money back,” he said. http://www.lvrj.com/news/33564389.html
Retreated from Armed Gunmen
Maricopa County County Attorney Andrew Thomas called for an inquiry by Congress and the Arizona legislature into the circumstances surrounding last week’s reported retreat by National Guard troops along the Mexican border after they were confronted by four armed gunmen from Mexico. This development was troubling given that Valley streets increasingly are being flooded with crime, drugs and violence flowing from the open border with Mexico. The Border Patrol acknowledged last week that National Guard troops abandoned a post along the Arizona border after being threatened by armed men entering from Mexico. This confrontation occurred along a porous border where drug lords and their gangs operate freely. http://www.intellectualconservative.com/2007/01/10/maricopa-county-attorney-asks-why-national-guard-on-border-retreated-from-armed-gunmen-2/
Of the 46,000 arrests made in Maricopa County last year, 6,000 involved illegal aliens. 120 arrests were made for the illegal summgling of human beings. http://www.mayorgordon.com/news/view.cfm?id=483420746
Latin America-style kidnappings move into Ariz. – http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-01-11-smuggler-kidnappings_N.htm
PHOENIX — A woman leaving an eyeglass store is grabbed in the parking lot by four men who force her, kicking and screaming, into a pickup. The kidnappers demand a $900,000 ransom.
PHOENIX (Reuters) – The criminal underworld in the sun-baked Arizona capital of Phoenix has long enjoyed the hot money profits from illicit smuggling of drugs and people over the border from Mexico. But now its members are living in fear as they are stalked by kidnappers after their proceeds, authorities say. Police in the desert city say specialized kidnap rings are snatching suspected criminals and their families from their homes, running them off the roads and even grabbing them at shopping malls in a spiraling spate of abductions.”Phoenix is ground zero for illegal narcotics smuggling and illegal human smuggling in the United States,” said Phil Roberts, a Phoenix Police Department detective. http://www.tigardtimes.com/us_world_news/story.php?story_id=TRE4979VW
PHOENIX – Phoenix police have arrested a suspect wanted in the kidnapping of a teenage girl.
Thomas was in a southwest Phoenix neighborhood Monday evening with other children and adults when an SUV with a strobe light on its front grill pulled up and two men armed with assault-style rifles and another two with handguns exited the vehicle. Two of the gunmen had utility belts that witnesses described as resembling the gun belts worn by police officers. Despite the strobe light and belts, Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Andy Hill said the kidnappers never claimed to be police officers. http://ktar.com/index.php?hlpage=8&nid=6&sid=770438
Each year, hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants are smuggled through Arizona from Mexico, most heading on to join relatives living and working in the shadows in towns and cities across the United States. The desert state also straddles a furiously trafficked corridor for drugs, especially marijuana, more than 400 tons of which were seized last year by the U.S. Border Patrol alone. Profits from the two crimes amount to billions of dollars.
In one recent kidnapping, a 14-year-old girl from south Phoenix was mistakenly picked up on the street by a gun-toting snatch squad looking for the daughter of a known drug dealer. The girl was subsequently released by her captors. “She happened to be standing outside in front of the home … they grabbed her in broad daylight … threw her in the vehicle and took off,” said Roberts. “Here is the perfect example of a young girl who has nothing to do with this, her family has nothing to do with this, she just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.” http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSTRE4979VW20081008?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&rpc=22&sp=true
Man kidnapped from Phoenix store, police ask for your help. http://www.abc15.com/content/news/phoenixmetro/story/Man-kidnapped-from-Phoenix-store-police-ask for/ktkfLTjEk0ygMqGoNh_L0A.cspx