Exclusive: 40-Mile Stretch of Arizona Border Left Open, Says CBP Source

Cochise County

According to a source within CBP, nearly 40 miles of border near Douglas, Arizona, completely lacks patrols on most days. The source, not authorized to speak to the media, says patrolling the city takes priority for the skeleton crew of Border Patrol agents.

The source says on most shifts, roughly a dozen agents are available to patrol the city because of the need to process a surge of migrants apprehended locally and elsewhere. The number of agents is not sufficient to patrol the vast border region to the west of the city as a result.

More than 100 migrants manage to elude apprehension daily, according to the source, who also says that count is grossly inaccurate as miles of border go unwatched. The source says the lack of patrols creates an advantage for smugglers waiting to pick up migrants in the U.S. Vehicle pursuits involving the human smugglers is creating havoc on local roadways and is quickly becoming the norm, according to the source.

As part of Operation Safe Streets, a program initiated by Cochise County Sheriff Mark Daniel, deputies work with other local and state law officers to increase patrols targeting smugglers.

On Tuesday, two vehicle pursuits leaving the border region near Douglas involved speeds more than 100 miles per hour on State Route 80. Cochise County Sheriff’s deputies managed to stop both vehicles without significant injuries.

Later that same afternoon, the task force attempted to stop a 2007 Ford Edge on Highway 80 near Tombstone. The driver led authorities on a pursuit through the town at excessive speeds before officers used a tire deflation device. After a brief foot pursuit, a 31-year-old U.S. citizen from Phoenix was arrested along with a passenger and charged with Participating in Human Smuggling, Felony Flight, Endangerment, and Reckless Driving. Two migrants in the vehicle were turned over to Border Patrol.

Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol.  Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.


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