Border Patrol agents with the Ajo Station (Arizona) Horse Patrol Unit on Sunday, March 12, discovered 340 pounds of marijuana that smugglers had abandoned near Ajo. According to a news release from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, agents conducting surveillance saw 10 people walking in the desert, and the horse patrol was dispatched to the group's last known vacation. Agents found eight bundles of marijuana worth more than $170,000.
The smugglers were not caught. This time they did not shoot at the agents as they ran away. The marijuana was taken to the Ajo Station for processing. And the Border Patrol still will be using horses, mostly Mustangs gentled by Federal Prisoners, to access remote areas in the desert that are inaccessible to motorized vehicles or restricted as is the case of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Horses continue to fit a niche in patrolling where vehicles cannot go or observation devices cannot see. Horses are quiet and can be intimidating once a horse patrol encounters a group.
Smugglers, both illegal immigrant and narcotics smugglers, exploit remote and rugged areas, sometimes taking days to cross the border and access a series of safe houses, transportation cells including pre-arranged load ups on Interstate 10. See the solar panel in the photo above right? Helps re-charge cell phones for communications between groups and transportation cells. It is common for now for illegal aliens being smuggled to be made to carry a burlap bundled load of marijuana made into a backpack to help pay for their trip and increase smuggler profits.
The majority of the American population has no idea of the situation along the Southwest border. Rampant corruption along governmental officials in Mexico, from local to federal law enforcement, to municipal and state governors continue to set up an environment that is conducive and prosperous to smugglers. There is a corridor between Tucson and Gila Bend Arizone running North to Interstate 10 and further into the Case Grande and Phoenix areas that are highly active. See map at left.
Arroyos (dry river beds), hills, heavy cactus and brush all providing concealment and cover for smugglers, as well as narco scouts reporting on law enforcment presence and activity in the area all conspire to make it very difficult to detect and interdict illegal activity. This is where the thick boned, hard footed Mustangs excel and earn their feed.
Bandit crews, preying on illegal alien traffic as well as ripping off drug loads are active in the area as well. These bandit groups are heavily armed and have no compunction about shooting at American Law Enforcement officers as the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010. In fact, the 5th and last bandit responsible for killing Agent Terry was apprehended by Mexican authorities a few days ago. Hopefully he'll soon be joining his criminal partners in a U.S. prison soon.