Border Area US Military Range Hotbed for Smugglers Due to Management, Say Whistleblowers
TUCSON, Arizona -- On July 14, Breitbart Texas revealed that an Arizona military testing facility was a hotbed of drug and human smuggling, partly due to its remote location and ineffective security protocols. The report also explained how security had been contracted out to a private company, and that Breitbart Texas sources had indicated managers of the Barry M. Goldwater Range (BMGR) were unhappy with the private company's performance, the Chiulista Corporation. On August 4, a former Chiulista employee contacted Breitbart Texas to confirm the BMGR’s vulnerabilities and poor security management practices.
Gary Dull is a retired police officer and served in the US Army. He worked for Chiulista Services, Inc. as a Security Officer at Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Field (AFAF) in southwest Arizona, but resigned in July because of what he perceived to be serious management problems and a lack of accountability. He told Breitbart Texas that Chiulista’s security division at the Field is “hindered by poor management,” and that unlike other divisions at Gila Bend AFAF, suffers from tremendous employee turnover. “The security officers are mistreated by the Assistant Security Manager, and this employee harassment is condoned by the Security Manager and Project Manager,” Dull said.
More disturbing was the assertion by Dull that security officers at he BMGR don’t proactively look for illegal immigrants trespassing on the property. “They have clear instructions from Chiulista management to not look for or pursue trespassers, drug smugglers or anyone else,” said Dull. “The people Chiulista security officers detain have turned themselves in. They have run out of food and water. It’s a rescue, and to make things worse, once you have rescued someone, Chiulistas policy forbids you to transport them.”
Breitbart Texas contacted Assistant Security Manager Gerald Johnson, Security Manager Layne Slapper, and Project Manager Rick Carr for comment on Dull’s allegations. Johnson could not be reached for comment, Carr did not return Breitbart Texas’ calls, and Slapper declined to comment.
Another former employee who worked for Chiulista at the same location for several years shares Dull’s frustrations and concerned. He did not wish to be named for fear of retribution, but emphatically told Breitbart Texas that he walked away “because [he] couldn't take it anymore.” In addition to reiterating Dull’s issues with Chiulista’s on-site managers, the former employee said he would come across illegal immigrants and drug mules on Range and Field property roughly twice a week while he worked there.
“Nine times out of ten, our contact with them was incidental,” he said. “We wouldn't go out there looking for them. A lot of the UDAs [undocumented aliens] would turn themselves in, and we would hand them over to the Border Patrol.” He also confirmed what Breitbart Texas reported in July about lookouts being positioned on the high ground around the Range and signaling smugglers and illegal immigrants to move when no planes were flying. “Oh yeah, that’s absolutely the case out there,” he said.
The former employee expressed concerns over the lack of any standards imposed by Chiulista management over security guards employed at the BMGR and Gila Bend AFAF. He confirmed Dull’s statement about the high employee turnover rate, and said there are no employee physical standards. “The only prerequisite for getting that job is breathing,” he said. Because of the very long distance between Chiulista’s corporate offices in central Alaska and the contract location in southern Arizona, he feels there is a huge disconnect between reality and the message upper management is getting about how the security aspect of the contract is being carried out. “I'm not even sure Alaska knows what’s going on down there,” he said.
Security for the BMGR and Gila Bend AFAF is only one small portion of an enormous federal contract that was granted to Chiulista, an Alaskan Native Corporation (ANC), in 2009. After winning the subsequent four one-year renewals, Chiulista must compete again for the contract now up for renewal. However, the contract is a set-aside, meaning only companies with something called an 8(a) certification can bid on the contract. Some of the requirements for an 8(a) certification are that the business must be small, majority-owned and controlled/managed by socially and economically disadvantaged individual(s), and demonstrate potential for success. Ownership eligibility and requirements for ANCs, however, are different in that they can be majority owned by an entity rather than just an individual.
Very few 8(a) companies have the ability and expertise to fulfill the requirements of such an enormous contract, which include services for airfield and manned range, civil engineering, fire and emergency, security forces, logistics, lodging, air traffic control, custodial, trash, environmental engineering, janitorial, and range management. This makes it highly likely that Chiulista or another ANC will likely win this contract again, much to the dismay of Dull and his former co-workers. The contracting office at Luke Air Force Base, which oversees the bidding process, indicated in July that it would not separate out the security portion of the contract.
Dull admits he’s a disgruntled employee, but believes that the guards are good people and not the source of the problem. “The job itself could be fantastic but then we come back to poor management,” he said. “With Chiulista it’s all about money; the mission and employees are expendable. The security officers working at Gila Bend AFAF are hoping Chiulista is not awarded a new contract,” Dull continued. “They are hoping for anyone other than Chiulista to win it.”
Sylvia Longmire is a border security expert and Contributing Editor for Breitbart Texas. You can read more about Mexico’s drug cartels and their illicit activities in her new book, Border Insecurity: Why Big Money, Fences, and Drones Aren’t Making Us Safer.