A Phoenix TV station is reporting they have discovered mountain top observation posts about 40 miles south of the city where lookouts for the drug cartels observe law enforcement operations, so as to provide a clear path for smugglers coming north from Mexico. The location appears to be more than 100 miles north of the Arizona/Mexico border
Investigative reporter Morgan Lowe first rode through the area with an officer from the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, according to his report filed with CBS5AZ. They spotted distinctive black plastic water bottles and trash littering the desert. Even patches of carpet that are wrapped around the feet of “mules” or smugglers to defeat trackers.
Detective Eddie Castro is with the smuggling unit of the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office. During his drive through the rugged country, he told Lowe that the smugglers pack it all across the desert ” We’ve seen big loads of Marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine…they all come through here.” Castro added that investigators have been told between five and seven scouts, or lookouts, occupy the hills.
Reporter Lowe and his producer then set out the next day to act the part of day hikers with video cameras. While they were climbing and close to the top of an unnamed summit, Lowe ran right into a young man, about 20 years old, dressed in camouflage. He determined the man to be a scout for the cartels. The lookout had a cell phone and a two way radio, and Lowe says he saw a police scanner as well.
Explaining that he was just a hiker, and wouldn’t take pictures, he then continued around the peak, taking in the view, and saying in his report that he heard several voices, but only saw the one man. He added that he needed to “get out of there in a hurry.”
Lowe did observe, and take pictures of gear or supplies stashed between boulders or covered with camo, several solar panels for charging up their electronics, as well as a kitchen or cooking area hidden under an overhang. The makeshift kitchen was easy to spot from the soot of cooking fires.
He told the scout that he was leaving. He wanted to know if Lowe was working with the Border Patrol, and Lowe simply told him “No.”
He then headed down the path, running away, and saying in his report that he was “running for his life.” Lowe said in his in-studio report that while he didn’t see any weapons, he wanted to put as much distance between himself and the observation post as possible — fearful that the people on the other end of the radio would have ordered him held, or worse.
He added in his report that law enforcement officials admit that they are surprised at how far north these scouts have taken their operation.
Rob Milford is a reporter for Breitbart Texas. You can follow him on Facebook.