Frank Maguire
Slaughter in the desert
By Frank Maguire
May 10, 2010

The following was published in the North West Connection, Troutdale, Oregon, back in June 0f 2008. I decided to submit it for republication because of the deliberate distortions aimed at Arizona. It is pretty clear in this article where this Arizonan's sympathies lie.

It started off, for me, as a typical late-April day in the southern Arizona desert. Sunshine, about 60 degrees, mild breezes, cactus blossoms! The unique beauty of the place I call home. There is, sadly, a less salutary typicality in this locale. The area is a hot-spot for drug and human smuggling — an area the Border Patrol refers to as "the pipeline."

At about 6:00 a.m., I was heading up to get my "venti Americano" at the new Starbucks in our yet to be incorporated community of Arizona City. I was driving northward when I had to give way to two Border Patrol vehicles running "code" — sirens and lights employed — a rare occurrence.

I've been involved in covering Border Patrol activity in our community, so I had a good idea where the BP was headed as they sped south on Sunland Gin Road. I took my coffee and headed to an area called Silver Bell Estates, a sparsely populated community that had originally been established for development 15 miles to the south of Arizona City. The area is adjacent to the Tohono O'odham Nation land — the second largest Indian "reservation" in the U.S.

At the end of Sunland Gin, the road right-angles westward for a couple of miles, where the Tohono Nation land begins. The road ahead of me was blocked by about a dozen Sheriff, Border Patrol, and fire-department emergency vehicles. I was forced to take a local street southward. I approached the site of the chaotic incident from the south and I pulled up behind a Pinal County Sheriff's vehicle that was blocking the road. What I saw was chilling. Ambulances and two med-evac copters were loading many apparent victims of what looked like a horrible crash.

I left my car and walked about 100 yards to where the BP agent was speaking with three persons. There were bodies strewn across the road, and clothing was scattered everywhere. I questioned the agent and two others — local residents, one who lives about 200 yards from the scene of the crash. They told me that "about 60 illegals" had been passengers in a pick-up. That the driver, a human-cargo smuggler, had run off the road, hit a street sign, continued across the road into a ditch and had rolled, throwing the passengers out. I was told that four persons were killed and 27 were severely injured.

One local told me that human smuggling was a daily occurrence. The route was a favored passage used for both human and drug smuggling. He told me that he didn't expect the media to give any major coverage to the incident, even with the severe carnage that was evident. At that point, I was the only journalist at the scene.

I watched to see how the local media covered it. The first reportage was just a few lines. From the Arizona Daily Star, a Tucson paper, there was a short piece by the Associated Press. The Phoenix-based Arizona Republic had the same information. What they reported was, it turns out, only partially accurate. Mostly hearsay! The following day, after more was known, the Casa Grande Dispatch gave a fuller and more accurate account.

I e-mailed a local law-enforcement person and requested some details. The reliable source, whom I will not name, immediately e-mailed me back and said we could talk over lunch. Both of us had the same intent. Replace the hearsay with facts.

Following is what I learned. There were not 60 persons in the small pick-up — an unbelievable number. It was merely a slightly more believable 31. These persons — alleged to be Mexicans and Guatemalans — were stuffed into (and upon) the pickup. The cab was crammed full, with at least one person lying on the dash-board. The rest were in the truck-bed, and hanging any way they could. Four were dead at the scene, and 27 severely injured.

I was told that the un-apprehended driver was part of an organized group paid to shuttle the illegals to local "stash houses" where they would be subsequently transported to other locations. The driver was, though severely injured, allegedly picked up and taken from the scene by an accomplice.

From the survivors, it was learned that there were a total of about 60 in their group, and that the others were waiting in the desert just south of the crash to be picked up by other smuggler vehicles.

I had noticed a small plane surveying the area. I was told that it was a pilot who had heard the police communiqués, and had flown to the scene. He, then, assisted the Border Patrol in locating the group of illegals who were awaiting transportation. This group was taken into custody.

I intend to follow-up on this atrocity. There are myriad questions to be asked, and clear culpability to be established. Who, for example, is complicit in what I designate a multiple homicide. The guilty parties need to be identified and publicly exposed. Despite reports that cities, states, and the federal government are serious about stopping illegal immigration, peónes and campesinos are still being seduced into the U.S. from Mexico and Central America. They are being transported to "sanctuary cities" throughout this country. To what end?

One ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) spokesman told the Casa Grand Dispatch, "These smuggling organizations are solely interested in maximizing profits, not in the safety of the people being smuggled." Obviously! But the smugglers are merely shuttle-service middle-men. The real question that demands answers is "Who are, and where are, the politicians and commercial exploiters of cheap labor who continue to defy the law out of plain, unadulterated greed?"

I am going to do whatever I can do to get some answers.

© Frank Maguire


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Frank Maguire

(Frank Maguire passed away on May 19, 2021. His obituary can be read here.

Frank Maguire was born in Dorchester, MA, 1938, attended schools in Massachusetts, California, and Arizona, where he completed degrees in music and English writing/Journalism. Frank has been married to Helen Isabel Maguire Estevez of Culver City, California, since 1957. They have six children, 14 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren.


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