Tuesday, November 15, 2011: Being as close to a perfect autumn day as it gets in southern Arizona, Thora Jaeger, canine Bailey and I departed for the Sonoran Desert National Monument first thing this morning (after my morning coffee). We entered the Vekol Valley area south of Interstate 8 shortly after 8:00AM. It was pleasantly cool and there were only a few cumulus clouds.
This was the first time I've visited the "contested zone" since the Operation Pipeline Express raids in late October and my visit to Pomona, California for the N.S.M. "Reclaim the Southwest" rally. Things appeared to be very quiet today. There were B.L.M. rangers patrolling the area south of Interstate 8. A couple of them made contact with us about 40 minute after arriving in the area. One of the rangers turned on his red and blue lights to get our attention.
Arizona Busts Billion Dollar Drug Ring Tied To Mexican Cartels
Arizona authorities broke up an alleged Mexican drug cartel distribution network, arresting dozens of smugglers responsible for bringing over $33 million worth of drugs through the state's western desert every month, officials said Monday.
The ring is believed be tied to the Sinaloa cartel — Mexico's most powerful — and responsible for smuggling more than 3.3 million pounds of marijuana, 20,000 pounds of cocaine and 10,000 pounds of heroin into the U.S. through Arizona over the past five years, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2011/11/01/arizona-shuts-down-massive-drug-smuggling-ring-tied-to-mexican-cartels/#ixzz1ds8Or8RX
After stopping, we chatted for a few minutes, bringing up the local impact of the Operation Pipeline raids. I informed him that were were picking up trash and scouting the area for future anti-smuggling operations. The ranger (name withheld for OP SEC) drove off with his coffee.
We collected part of a vehicle's exhaust system and discovered several 55 gallon drums that appeared to have been sitting behind some brush for decades. While working up a bit of a sweat, we managed to roll the drums approximately 75 yards to my truck. They weren't that heavy, just bulky.
Not having checked the area north of Interstate 8 for a few months, we decided to investigate. There appeared to be no recent vehicle traffic. I had rained just a few days ago. Therefore, it was easy to establish a time line. We continued to travel north through the Vekol Valley.
Shortly after passing "Hatchet Man" tank, we saw something on the road in front of us and stopped. It turned out to be a sleeping bag. After approaching it with caution, we determined that it was unoccupied and had not been there for very long. No other "sign" was at this location.
Along the way, we picked up pipe, wire, rusted chain link fencing and twisted pieces of metal. Within three hours, we had managed to collect 404 pounds of material. From the Vekol Valley, we moved east into Hidden Valley along Fucar Road. After taking Ferral Road through the Ak Chin Indian reservation, we were in Maricopa.
Due to the sagging economy and my lack of funds, I attempt to make my projects as "self funding" as possible. As before, we sold the metal to the scrap buyer in Maricopa. The proceeds were enough to cover gasoline, ice, drinking water, a little food and the oil change I really needed.
SSGT Harry L Hughes III
NSM-AZ Executive Officer/Media Spokesman
NSM MEDIA Associate Producer
UNtrash Our Desert: New ways to fight illegal dumping
"All of us are trash generators. We are a consumer society and everything we buy produces trash. I think we as individuals have to take it upon ourselves to stop illegal dumping by taking care of our own trash," said Berino resident Bertha Rizzuti. "We need to start a campaign like 'just say no to drugs' and start change with children."
That's one suggestion. Pima County (Tucson) Arizona has backed off from illegal dumping cleanups and no longer funds them with tax dollars. Instead, they focus on prosecuting violators and force dumpers they can identify to not only cleanup their own dumping, but through community service, clean up other dumps. http://www.lcsun-news.com/dona_ana_news/ci_19295987
Pinal County’s Division of Environmental Investigation is a regulatory agency employing two full time investigators to enforce federal, state and local environmental laws. The Division of Environmental Investigation responds to citizen complaints of illegal dumping in the unincorporated areas of the county. An investigation is conducted to identify the offenders and affect the clean up of the site. Pinal County does not provide collection or cleanup services. Last year the division investigated 289 cases. 223 of those were successfully closed within an average of 95 days from the date the offense was reported. http://pinalcountyaz.gov/Departments/PublicWorks/EmergencyManagement/EnvironmentalInvestigations/Pages/Home.aspx
“Television's perfect. You turn a few knobs, a few of those mechanical adjustments at which the higher apes are so proficient, and lean back and drain your mind of all thought. And there you are watching the bubbles in the primeval ooze. You don't have to concentrate. You don't have to react. You don't have to remember. You don't miss your brain because you don't need it. Your heart and liver and lungs continue to function normally. Apart from that, all is peace and quiet. You are in the man's nirvana. And if some poor nasty minded person comes along and says you look like a fly on a can of garbage, pay him no mind. He probably hasn't got the price of a television set.” --Raymond Chandler quotes (American Writer, author of detective fiction,1888-1959)