JUNE 12, 2013
Eighteen plus six walking in desert call Sheriff for help
Sheriff warns desert crossers that they will face serious health hazards when crossing
PHOENIX – For the second time last week, a group of men were rescued from harsh desert conditions near Gila Bend, Arizona by deputies of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office after being in the desert for days. A total of 18 men received aid from deputies and Border Patrol after calling 911 for help due to high temperatures and a need for water.
During a 911 call to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Dispatch Center, which started in the early afternoon June 7, a Spanish speaking male indicated his group of 14 people had just hauled 14 bales, or 700 pounds of Marijuana across the desert and stashed it. The caller stated that he would show deputies where the stash was once rescued. Information received during the call indicated that there was another group of seven people also lost in the desert, both without water for the last three days.
Late in the evening, Sheriff Arpaio ordered his helicopter, Fox 3, in the area to assist his deputies. Within an hour of being dispatched Fox 3 located and rescued two men from the large group. Border Patrol agents were able to locate three more immediately following. Sheriff’s Arpaio’s Jeep Posse, Search and Rescue and District 2 deputies were all working the area when 13 more people where located. Information received from the group indicated there were no more remaining people in the desert.
“Whether U.S. Citizen or not, it is important to save lives” Arpaio says. “Sadly, human and drug smuggling operations very often are conducted by people interested only in one thing – money and not the welfare of those they are smuggling.”
On June 3, 2013, six men who said they had been walking through the desert for 10 days and abandoned by their guide, called 911 for help. The men said they had relied on cactus water to survive but could not continue in the extreme heat and made the call to which Sheriff’s deputies responded. One of the rescued men indicated they had entered the country illegally. As in today’s case, all those rescued were turned over to Border Patrol.
Arpaio says, “These type of rescues cost thousands of dollars of require a large amount of resources, however the health and safety of these desert crossers is paramount.”