Displaying results 1 - 25 of 985 for smuggling. Subscribe to this search
PHOENIX (AP) — A prosecutor accepted blame Friday for an error by his office that's expected to lead to the dismissal of corruption charges against at least one former sheriff's employee accused of helping a cartel-connected heroin smuggling ring.
PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona sheriff known for crackdowns on people living in the country illegally is giving up his last major foothold in immigration enforcement efforts that won him popularity among voters but gradually were reined in by Congress and the courts
PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona sheriff known for arresting hundreds of immigrants in the country illegally on charges of finding work using fake or stolen identities is planning to close the controversial squad that investigates such cases.
PHOENIX (AP) — A judge presiding over a civil rights lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office has been asked to reopen the case's fact-gathering phase to explore misconduct allegations against some of the sheriff's officers.
If it’s not solid, it’s not Viagra, Pfizer says. The pill, that is.
ARIVACA, Ariz. (AP) — Residents of a small southern Arizona town say they will spend 24 consecutive hours monitoring the U.S. Border Patrol and holding a vigil.
A judge presiding over a racial profiling case against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office will hold a hearing Thursday to discuss pursuing criminal contempt-of-court proceedings against the sheriff over what the judge says is the police agency's disregard for his orders.
Finding evidence of false statements by sheriff's investigators, the state Court of Appeals on Tuesday gave the owner of a chain of Phoenix area restaurants a chance to undermine — and possibly escape — charges he knowingly hired undocumented workers.
In January, new Gov. Doug Ducey will appoint a new director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety. The director’s term coincides with the governor’s.
A federal judge has voided one of the last remaining sections of the controversial package of anti-immigration laws approved by Arizona lawmakers in 2010.
PHOENIX (AP) — A judge presiding over a racial profiling case against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office leveled harsh criticism against the agency Tuesday for not thoroughly investigating allegations that some sheriff's deputies were involved in thefts.
U.S. District Judge Murray Snow also singled out Arpaio for publicly saying he had no regrets about launching the type of immigration patrols that the judge found to have been unconstitutional as part of the profiling case. The judge is concerned Arpaio's comments are weakening efforts to correct constitutional flaws in the agency's approach to traffic stops.
"I think he is completely undoing what the MCSO (Arpaio's office) is spending a great deal of time building," said Snow, who showed visible frustration with the agency at several points in a court hearing Tuesday. He ordered the sheriff himself to attend the training that his officers must complete as part of the profiling case.
The hearing was called to discuss the agency's investigations of a former officer suspected of shaking down immigrants and to address Arpaio's recent unapologetic comments about a 2008 immigration patrol.
Arpaio, who was in Idaho on Tuesday, didn't attend the hearing. His lawyers and one of Arpaio's top managers faced sharp questioning from the judge, particularly over the investigation into former Deputy Ramon Charley Armendariz.
Armendariz was arrested in May after investigators found items belonging to others and bags of evidence at his home. Armendariz implicated former colleagues on Arpaio's immigrant smuggling squad, quit his job and later committed suicide. Armendariz is relevant to the profiling case because he was a witness at the case's 2012 trial and videos of his traffic stops were discovered after his arrest.
The judge said he had concerns that the only criminal investigation by the sheriff's office of Armendariz has been closed.
"I think you need to continue to investigate where those items came from," Snow said.
Robert Warshaw, a court-appointed official who is monitoring the sheriff's office on behalf of the judge, said another former member of Arpaio's smuggling squad has alleged that squad members had pocketed items from raids at safe houses.
Warshaw, a former police chief, said his team of police professionals has never seen more unprofessional interviews than those conducted by Arpaio's employees who are conducting the investigation. Warshaw said the interviews were replete with apologetic treatment of those being interviewed.
More than a year ago, Snow ruled Arpaio's office had systematically racially profiled Latinos in its regular traffic and immigration patrols. Arpaio denies that his officers have racially profiled people and has appealed the decision. The judge is requiring Arpaio's office to video-record traffic stops, collect data on traffic stops and conduct additional training to ensure officers aren't making unconstitutional traffic stops.
Tuesday's hearing also centered on Arpaio's recent comments about a 2008 immigration patrol in the town of Guadalupe that were a significant piece of the profiling case.
Asked to comment about an upcoming community meeting in Guadalupe, Arpaio told The Associated Press he had no regrets about the patrol. "With the same circumstances, I'd do it all over again," Arpaio said.
Snow said the sheriff, as an elected official, is free to make whatever public statements he wishes, but added that Arpaio sets the overall tone for his agency — and questioned whether the sheriff's comments are undermining efforts to train his deputies.
Tim Casey, an attorney representing Arpaio, said the sheriff's office is making significant changes ordered by the judge and that the agency was acting in good faith. "Good faith exists in the deed, not the spoken word," Casey said, arguing there was no cause and effect as a result of Arpaio's comments.
Cecillia Wang, a lawyer who pressed the profiling case against the sheriff's office, said the sheriff wasn't merely expressing disagreement with the judge — he was saying he would do his immigration patrols all over again.
Snow said he was willing to take such comments by Arpaio into account when deciding whether the sheriff's office has complied with the judge's efforts to fix the constitutional problems.
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The number of people who died trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border has dropped to the lowest level in 15 years as more immigrants turned themselves in to authorities in Texas and fewer took their chances with the dangerous trek across the Arizona desert.
The U.S. government recorded 307 deaths in the 2014 fiscal year that ended in September — the lowest number since 1999. In 2013, the number of deaths was 445.
The Border Patrol's Rio Grande Valley sector finished the 2014 budget year with 115 deaths, compared with 107 in the Tucson sector, according to figures obtained by The Associated Press. It marks the first time since 2001 that Arizona has not been the deadliest place to cross the border.
Arizona has long been the most dangerous border region because of triple-digit temperatures, rough desert terrain and the sheer volume of immigrants coming in to the state from Mexico. But more immigrants are now entering through Texas and not Arizona, driven by a surge of people from Central America.
The Tucson and Rio Grande Valley both saw their numbers of deaths decline from 2013, although Arizona's drop was more precipitous.
Border enforcement officials say the lower numbers are in part due to increased rescue efforts as well as a Spanish-language media campaign discouraging Latin Americans from walking across the border.
Tucson Sector Division Chief Raleigh Leonard says the addition of 10 new rescue beacons that were strategically placed in areas where immigrants traverse most often has been a factor in the decrease in deaths.
"I think we can all agree that crossing the border is an illegal act, but nothing that should be assigned the penalty of death," Leonard said in an interview.
Immigrant rights advocates are skeptical that it is solely the Border Patrol's efforts contributing to the decrease in deaths.
"At best, what the Border Patrol is accomplishing is a geographical shift in where these deaths are happening — rather than adequately responding to the scale of the crisis," said Geoffrey Boyce, a border enforcement and immigration researcher at the University of Arizona and a volunteer with the Tucson-based nonprofit No More Deaths.
The Rio Grande Valley sector was flooded with a surge in unaccompanied minors and families with children who turned themselves in at border crossings in Texas. Most were from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, where gang violence and a poor economy have driven out huge numbers of people. That surge has dwindled recently, however, as U.S. and Central American authorities have launched a public relations campaign warning parents against sending their children to the U.S.
Meanwhile, the Tucson Sector, once the busiest in the nation, has seen a steep decline in border crossers. Fewer Mexicans are crossing into the U.S. as the economy here has faltered and drug violence at home has improved.
The Border Patrol also responds to hundreds of cases each year of immigrants who need to be rescued while crossing the desert, long an issue in the Arizona desert. The Border Patrol conducted 509 rescues in the 2014 fiscal year in the Tucson sector, compared to 802 in 2013.
Some of the rescues are made with the help of beacons that were activated 142 times this year. The beacons are 30-feet tall, solar-powered and have sun reflectors and blue lights on top that are visible for 10 miles. The beacons also have signs in three languages directing users to push a red button that sends out a signal for help. Agents respond usually within 10 minutes to an hour.
The agency has a team dedicated solely to rescues, called Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue.
Agents in this elite group spend their days searching for immigrants and responding when one seeks help. They assist not only those who cross the border in search for jobs, but also drug mules and smugglers who become injured or dehydrated in the summer heat.
It was only 10 a.m. and already 95 degrees on a day in late June when the unit's agents provided medical assistance to a 28-year-old man suspected of smuggling drugs near Sells, Arizona.
The thin man had an ID from El Salvador and said he lived in Tucson. He oscillated between Spanish and English, but his message was the same: He was in extreme pain.
The agents gave him a gallon of a sports beverage. He was to drink it slowly, they told him, or else it would make him sick. Next, they connected a saline bag intravenously and checked his vitals.
The agents monitored him and re-examined his vitals, concluding that he wasn't dehydrated but suffering from muscle fatigue. Minutes later, agents who used a drug-sniffing K-9 to search the area found several bundles of marijuana and another suspected smuggler.
The men were arrested on suspicion of being in the country illegally, but were not charged with smuggling because the loads of marijuana were not found on them.
"To us, it could be a mule, an illegal immigrant. They're all the same. They're human beings," Leonard said.
PHOENIX (AP) — Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office says a court-appointed official's critique of the agency's investigation into alleged wrongdoing by some of its officers contains mischaracterizations.
Arpaio's lawyers say in court papers Tuesday that the report alleges investigators failed to act on information provided to them while they examined shakedown allegations against a former deputy. It also says supervisors of the deputy, whose arrest led to the investigations, didn't take appropriate action against him.
The report has not been released to the public.
The lawyers say the document unfairly suggested the sheriff's department wasn't investigating allegations in good faith, and that the criticism centers on the fact that no criminal charges have been filed against officers.
"Such a conclusion, especially given the genesis of this particular investigation, presumes the guilt of MCSO deputies," the attorneys wrote.
The critique was made by Robert Warshaw, who was appointed to monitor the agency by a judge who ruled Arpaio's officers have racially profiled Latinos in its patrols.
The judge asked Warshaw to investigate allegations against a witness in the profiling case, now-deceased deputy Ramon Charley Armendariz. Eighteen months after the profiling trial, Armendariz was accused of shaking down immigrants who are in the country illegally.
Armendariz was arrested five months ago after investigators found driver's licenses, wallets belonging to other people, bags of evidence and more than 100 license plates at his Phoenix home.
Another discovery at Armendariz's home involved an estimated 900 hours of videos taken from cameras mounted on his eyeglasses and dashboard that were supposed to be turned over in the profiling case.
Armendariz told investigators he was innocent, and he implicated former colleagues on Arpaio's immigrant smuggling squad. After his arrest, Armendariz resigned and was later found dead in his home in a suicide by hanging, officials say.
Warshaw's report on the investigation into Armendariz's allegations hasn't been publicly released.
The sheriff's office has repeatedly denied requests by The Associated Press for updates on the investigations, and investigative reports and related documents sought through public records requests haven't been released.
The attorneys who pressed the racial profiling case against Arpaio's office filed a response to Warshaw's report, but that filing is under a court seal. The American Civil Liberties Union, the driving force behind the profiling case, declined to comment on the filing by Arpaio's lawyers.
The sheriff's office says in its latest filing that nearly 9,000 videos taken by officers during the course of their work have been collected in the investigation. It says the videos have generated 39 internal investigations.
Arpaio's lawyers said Warshaw's criticism underscores the monitor's misunderstanding about the distinction between investigations that examine criminal allegations and those that focus on policy violations.
The sheriff's office also said the monitor alleged that Armendariz's supervisors failed to take administrative action against him. Arpaio's lawyers said it already has an administrative investigation into the matter.
U.S. District Judge Murray Snow ordered that a copy of Warshaw's report be sent to county and federal prosecutors. He set a Tuesday hearing to discuss the critique.
Arpaio's attorneys have asked the judge to close discussions of the Armendariz investigations, while opposing lawyers said they should be open to the public.
FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) — Pinal County authorities say a drug and human-smuggling investigation has netted nine arrests.
The Sheriff's office says the two-monthlong investigation was conducted with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
According to the Sheriff's Office, the investigation also resulted in the seizure of vehicles used by smugglers as well as 276 pounds of marijuana.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office has asked a judge to bar the public from witnessing an Oct. 28 hearing at which lawyers will discuss an investigation of a former sheriff's deputy.
PHOENIX (AP) — Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office has asked a judge to bar the public from witnessing an Oct. 28 hearing at which lawyers will discuss an investigation of a former sheriff's deputy.
The hearing was called by a judge presiding over a racial profiling case against Arpaio's office.
Former Deputy Ramon Charley Armendariz is being investigated on allegations that he was shaking down immigrants who were in the country illegally.
He was arrested in May after investigators found items belonging to others and bags of evidence at his home.
Armendariz implicated former colleagues on Arpaio's immigrant smuggling squad and later committed suicide.
He is relevant to the profiling case because he was a witness at the case's 2012 trial and videos of his traffic stops were discovered after his arrest.
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Federal authorities say a Mexican man has been accused of trying to smuggle more than 3,300 pounds of marijuana into southern Arizona.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Mariposa commercial facility in Nogales referred a 24-year-old man for an additional inspection of a tractor-trailer he was driving.
A scan of the vehicle revealed an anomaly in the trailer.
That led officers to the discovery of 145 bales of marijuana concealed behind a false front wall.
Officers estimate the marijuana's vale at about $1.6 million.
Officers processed the drugs and truck for seizure and referred the driver to Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.
The man is from Navolato, Sinaloa, Mexico but his name hasn't been released.
PHOENIX (AP) — Federal authorities who have pushed back against Arizona's attempts to confront illegal immigration in recent years face a Tuesday deadline for chiming in about two state immigration policies that are being scrutinized by the courts.
The Obama administration is scheduled to provide input in a challenge of Gov. Jan Brewer's policy that denies driver's licenses to young immigrants who have avoided deportation under a change ordered by the president.
It's also expected to urge a judge to throw out Arizona's 2005 immigrant smuggling ban.
Brewer is asking a federal appeals court to reconsider its July decision that blocked the driver's license policy.
The administration made the request to block the smuggling law as part of its challenge of the 2010 law, which made a minor change to the 2005 statute.
PHOENIX (AP) — The top county prosecutor in metropolitan Phoenix is urging a judge to reject the Obama administration's request to throw out Arizona's law banning immigrant smuggling.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery's office has filed a friend-of-the-court brief saying the 2005 state law isn't trumped by federal statutes. Gov. Jan Brewer also has opposed the request.
The administration made the request to block the smuggling law as part of its challenge of Arizona's broader 2010 immigration enforcement law, which made a minor change to the 2005 statute.
The dispute over the smuggling law is all that remains of the administration's challenge of the 2010 law.
The Obama administration says the 2005 law should be struck down because it's trumped by a similar federal law.
Immigrant rights advocates complained that the law that was intended to target smugglers had been misused because authorities were using it to also arrest the customers of smugglers.
A year ago, a judge prohibited Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and county prosecutors from charging immigrants who paid to be sneaked into the country with conspiring to smuggle themselves, ruling that the policy criminalizes actions that the federal law treats as a civil matter.
County officials agreed to drop their appeal of that ruling. Montgomery has said the ruling was so broad his office hasn't even been able to prosecute smugglers since the decision
The Obama administration is asking a federal judge to void another of Arizona's laws aimed at illegal immigration.
Our state is taking a beating over our nation’s broken immigration system. Unfortunately, we’re hearing a lot of rhetoric and campaign pandering on this issue. Here’s the truth: securing the border is about more than guards and fencing.
Talk about back to the future.
We enjoyed the recent guest column by Linda Turley-Hansen, “Federal land grabs prove need for courageous governors,” and might I share with Ms. Turley-Hansen and your readers, Arizona’s in luck.
We enjoyed the recent guest column by Linda Turley-Hansen, “Federal land grabs prove need for courageous governors,” and might I share with Ms. Turley-Hansen and your readers, Arizona’s in luck.