Exclusive: Assassination Threat from Mexico Against Family of US Border Sheriff
SIERRA VISTA, Arizona—A routine traffic stop in a small Arizona town near the Mexican border has left one man dead from the gun of a police officer and “credible” assassination threats against the officer and his father, the county sheriff, according to law enforcement sources including the sheriff.
The threats originated from a region in Mexico predominantly controlled by the notorious Sinaloa cartel—and are directly related to the police officer’s shooting of the now-deceased man, identified as Lauro Avechuco, officials say. He has a long history of arrests for possession of marijuana, aggravated DUI, felony flight, and assault. A law enforcement source revealed that Avechuco has a Social Security number. Avechuco was born on April 25, 1973.
The officer is with the Sierra Vista Police Department, Justin Dannels. His father, Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels, heads up law enforcement operations for Arizona’s Cochise County—a place notorious for rugged terrain along the U.S./Mexico border that cartels use as a major narcotics and human smuggling and trafficking corridor.
Sheriff Dannels told Breitbart News “Yes, me, my son, my chief deputy, and law enforcement in general have been threatened in this matter.” He added, “The intelligence also mentioned the threat of a killing spree against all law enforcement officers.”
Sheriff Dannels declined to give further details on the threats, citing the importance of keeping intelligence reports private. He did add that he and his family are taking the threats seriously. He said, “We have taken precautionary measures. This goes beyond what I will stand for.” He added, “We are actively investigating these threats and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to address this.”
An intelligence analyst who works for another agency in the region spoke with Breitbart News on the condition of anonymity and said, “It was a traffic stop by the Sheriff’s son who is an officer with the Sierra Vista Police Department. The guy fled. The chase entered a neighborhood area and the guy tried to run down the Officer Dannels with his vehicle. Officer Dannels shot him.” The source also revealed that the threats were believed to be coming from a relative or relatives of Avechuco in Mexico.
Sylvia Longmire, Breitbart Texas’ border security expert and contributing editor, lives in southern Arizona and said, “The region immediately south of Sierra Vista and Naco are predominantly controlled by the Sinaloa cartel. If credible threats are coming from that region, it is either from the Sinaloa directly, or from a criminal enterprise under the umbrella of the cartel.”
Longmire added, “Threats such as these bring increased scrutiny to the region and can interfere with the cartels smuggling efforts. If such threats did not originate with cartel approval, the issuer of the threats could find themselves in serious trouble with the Sinaloa Federation.”
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Photo of Sherriff Mark Dannels and Chief Deputy T.J. Smith