Arizona Sheriff to Target Drugs From Mexican Border

Posted on Apr 14, 2011
Sheriff Joe Arpaio has launched a new operation targeting the illegal smuggling of drugs and undocumented immigrants coming across the Arizona-Mexico border. The operation was launched on Wednesday, March 30, 2011, and will include for the first time the use of small planes designed to detect the smuggling of drugs and illegal immigrants coming across the southern border.

"This is a police strategy against undocumented immigration and the flow of narcotics into Maricopa County," said Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The operation has been coined "Operation Desert Sky" and is scheduled to last several weeks. The operation will utilize approximately 30 people which include volunteers, deputies, and pilots. Operation Desert Sky will target the southwestern and southeastern corridors of Maricopa County.

The Maricopa County Sheriff has reported that within the last 12 months deputies have intercepted about 36,000 pounds of illegal drugs with an estimated street value of $25 million.

"I think that we all should do something for our country," said Phil Laker, one of the volunteer pilots.

Sheriff Joe has reported that Operation Desert Sky will not use any of his department's resources since the operation will be carried out by volunteers and other county units.

The pilots will monitor the border and will communicate with agents patrolling the ground. The volunteers will also be armed with M-16 rifles.

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