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Border crime

Cartel lookouts in U.S. to monitor Southern Az law enforcement

Nogales police threatened after drug discovery

Mexican drug cartels have set up lookout points in Southern Arizona in an effort to monitor law enforcement along the border, Fox News reports.

“To say that this area is out of control is an understatement," said a Border Patrol agent who patrols the area and asked not to be named. "We (federal border agents), as well as the Pima County Sheriff Office and the Bureau of Land Management, can attest to that.”

In these areas, which are south and west of Tucson, sources told Fox that there are “cartel scouts galore” watching the movements of federal, state and local law enforcement, from the border all the way up to Interstate 8. 

Without placing direct fault on anyone, multiple agents told Fox that the situation is more dangerous for them than ever now that the cartels have such a strong position on the American side of the border.

They say morale is down among many who patrol the desolate area, and they worry that the situation won't change until an agent gets killed.

The report amplifies a cartel threat received by Nogales Police Chief Jeff Kirkham, reports Reuters.

It said if off-duty officers enforce drug laws in the border area, officers may be targeted.

"The warning was . . . that the officers, if they are off duty, are to look the other way and ignore any drug trafficking loads that are coming across the border, otherwise they will be targeted," Kirkham told Reuters.

Kirkham said the department received the threat through an informant after two off-duty policemen seized 400 pounds of marijuana while horseback riding outside the city in early June.

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