There are two new areas of operation in which I’ve had a particular interest in setting up SAFE operations. One is Nogales, the other is the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation. The most pressing of the two, for a variety of reasons, was the reservation. Due to a confluence of facilitating circumstances, the appropriate moment to get the ball rolling there came last Tuesday, December 28, and so a team of us headed out for an initial scout of the center of the northern border of the rez.
The rez was important to me because of intel I had received indicating that it was a hotbed of cartel and illegal immigration activity. The need to get a handle on the situation was made even more pressing by the fact that the reservation nullified nearly a third of the Arizona/Mexico border, replacing it with the much more complex multi-dimensional border that Arizona shares with the reservation. Now, keeping in mind that the reservation is a de-facto sovereign nation over which the United States has no authority or control, and therefor is left unable to police its border with Mexico, take a look at what I’m talking about:
Now, also keep in mind that the so-called “smuggling superhighway” to Phoenix, the “superhighway” that Sheriff Paul Babeu’s deputy was ambushed and wounded in, the Vekal Valley, flows directly through the reservation and out of its northern border. Here’s an excellent video for some background on this “superhighway” through a valley of what I will later show you to be death and rape:
The team that was assembled for the day was led by “Charlie”, an Iraq war Marine vet who had seen plenty of action, and otherwise consisted of myself, another Iraq/Afghanistan combat vet with the call sign “JP”, a Marine vet (who did time in Arab Gulf States prior to the war) and perhaps the best weapons/armed-defense instructor in the country with the call sign “Riddick”, a young civilian Conservative from a solid Marine Corps family with the call sign “Vengeance”, and a civilian weapons expert and longtime Conservative activist with the call sign “Jericho”. Other than me, who decided to go out Old-School-Pat-Dollard-In-Iraq-Style (no weapons but camera, pen, and paper), everyone was more than appropriately armed and armored. Charlie and JP had already done an earlier scout, so we weren’t going out totally blind of prior eyes-on. At about 09:00 my video camera broke, leaving me with just a still shooter. No time for a fix. At about 09:15 Charlie delivered the Op Order, and we all programmed the necessary emergency numbers into our cell phones. We loaded up into our 4×4′s, and headed out. We were well-prepared for confrontation but not necessarily looking for it, as this was to be a simple initial scout, my first attempt to get an eyes-on handle of a portion of what was to become a critical new AO for the SAFE Citizen Patrol. Look, feel, and gather physical battlespace intel. Simple, but as always, potentially deadly.
Charlie had previously done some patrolling with me and another SAFE team. JP, who will now be commanding this new AO for SAFE, had not. I’d known him for some time prior though, and had been anxious to get out in the field with him, because they just don’t come any better. JP is a genuine American hero. He’s likely to kick my ass for saying that, but I consider it to be true. He is a Marine who was a friend of one of the four contractors who were murdered, mutilated, burned and hung from a bridge in Fallujah in a notorious incident that served as a primary catalyst for the two Battles of Fallujah, the second of which ultimately won us control of what had become Al Qaeda’s capital in Iraq. JP was not much interested in leaving either the incident unavenged, or his friend’s body in the hands of these animals. He organized a team, and went into the city which was still essentially entirely controlled by the enemy, in order to get the body of their friend, who was also a Navy Seal. JP’s brief description to me: “We went in and killed a lot of the motherfuckers who did it. We fucked ‘em up, and then we brought my friend’s body back. Then we sent him home to his family. We don’t leave any man behind.”
Before I give you the report on our day’s scout, I’ll now give you the abbreviated version of the Rez border mission that JP and Charlie did just a few weeks prior to this one. It was an overnighter, just meters adjacent to Interstate 8. Now, the average thinking man responds to this revelation with the thought “Well, what kind of nefarious and illicit drug gang activity is going to happen just meters from a giant, well-lit, all-American interstate highway, right under God’s and the world’s noses?”. As you are about to disturbingly discover, the answers are “plenty”, “the worst kind” and “deadly”.
To be continued. Part Two, the final part, to be published here today at 12 noon, Pacific Standard Time
The Snooper Report.
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