(NationalSecurity.news) An Arizona sheriff has claimed that vast portions of his state are essentially a no man’s land, as no jurisdiction – his included – has real “operational control.”
When asked who had control over regions near Florence, Ariz., by a reporter for Breitbart News, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu answered flatly, “Nobody does.”
Babeu made his comments during a helicopter tour of scout/lookout locations for Mexican drug cartels in caves burrowed into the sides of mountains throughout the desert, located some 70 miles inside the U.S. border. By sound estimates, that means “U.S. sovereignty is gone for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of square miles throughout the American southwest,” Breitbart News’ Matthew Boyle, who accompanied Babeu and GOP presidential contender Dr. Ben Carson, on the exclusive tour.
In addition to those locations, Babeu showed Carson how deep inside the U.S. the cartel lookout positions, many atop high ground, actually were – positions used by the cartels to assist in the smuggling of drugs, people and other contraband into the United States from Mexico.
“If they can operate up to this degree, 70 miles north of the border, in law enforcement we call that a clue,” Babeu said in a brief interview outside the helicopter after arriving back at the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.
Giving up so much sovereign ground should be an outrage – not just to Arizonans and other Americans, but also to politicians in Washington and President Barack Obama, Carson intimated, according to Boyle.
Troops needed at the border – again
“We should stop them at the border,” Carson said. “They shouldn’t be 70 miles inside the border. We should stop them at the border. As the sheriff indicated, if we were to take like 6,000 troops and put them at the border, you wouldn’t have those people coming inside the border.”
In May 2006, President George W. Bush ordered 6,000 National Guard troops to the U.S. border to assist Border Patrol and other federal agencies with stemming the tide of illegal immigration and drug-running. The deployments, which generally lasted two weeks, went on for a year as Bush pushed Congress to expand the Border Patrol by at least 6,000 agents.
President Obama briefly considered sending Guard troops back to the border in 2014 but instead decided to advocate for policies that only attract more illegal immigrants.
Following his tour with Carson, Babeu appeared on Fox News’ Your World with Neil Cavuto to further discuss the loss of operational control over wide swaths of the American Southwest.
In particular, Babeu said that cartel members armed with AK-47s “control many areas on American soil,” including turf that is just 30 miles south of Phoenix.
Speaking about his tour with Carson, Babeu said, “We flew him in our helicopter, showed him the drug smuggling routes, the actual caves—these cartel scouts live on top of mountains, 30 days at a time. And how on mountaintop to mountaintop, over a 50-mile swath of land, and this is only 30 miles from Phoenix.”
“We’re fighting a war here”
Continuing, he said, “This is literally an unsecured border. We have cartels that think they own the place. They control many areas on American soil and this [is] how they freely move billions of dollars of drugs and hundreds of thousands of illegals into our country.”
He noted that his department scarcely has the resources to combat a better-armed and equipped force, and that higher-tech surveillance and weaponry is required to reassert control over U.S. territory.
“We don’t have drones ourselves. We have a couple helicopters and this is why there shouldn’t be one county fighting the drug cartels,” Babeu said. “We had a three billion dollar drug bust. We arrested 76 in one day. They were carrying 108 weapons, including AK-47s.”
For his part, Carson, Breitbart News reported, advocated missile strikes on mountaintop positions held by cartels, to the shock of some in the media.
“Look we’re fighting a war here,” Carson said, as related by Babeu. “We should talk to military leaders and law enforcement leaders to see what we need to do.”