The Hills Have Eyes


Line Camp, Us/Mexico Border

My friends:  it is difficult to relate exactly the experiences we are having here, particularly after a bottle of Jameson’s at the La Siesta, with a new friend and aging combat veteran, but I will do my best.  I’m going to order this in terms of an After Action Report, because after nearly 20 years of carrying a gun in defense of the Constitution and those things that make us Americans, I think it is both fair and appropriate to seek that fair and balanced approach.  That statement alone is a post, whose hard earned lessons I can’t even begin to articulate.

What I learned today:  The Ajo Area of Operations (AO) is currently the most active dope and human smuggling area in the United States.

Lessons Learned:

The cartels have networks of paid professional scouts buried in the Santa Rosa Range, hard on the US side of the border, which overlooks the entire Ajo Valley, and a radio network stretching from Ajo to Phoenix.  The Agents are powerless to stop it.  Blame that on manpower shortages, geography, or politics–they know the sites exist and can do nothing to stop it.  Occasionally, they conduct massive  FLIR assisted heliborne raids, or four wheeler “Trojan Horse” operations in attempts at interdiction, a version of a tactic I once employed as a domestic narcotics agent, but mostly they fail.  They are also hampered in their law enforcement duties by the Wilderness designation of the entire site, which precludes the involvement of the motorized vehicles of any kind.  Imagine that.

Everything we did today, which was largely picking up trash from dope and human smuggling ops, is under constant observation.  The Border Patrol guys we worked with–who commute 4 hours each day from Phoenix or Tucscon just to come to work–something to think about in the the most active smuggling corridor on our southern border–advised me that there were active lookouts in the Santa Rosa Range on the US side of the border, places such as Sweetwater Pass, or Alli Wau, which we could clearly see, as well as the multiple elevated sights on the Mexican side of the “fence”, which were actively communicating our activities.  They assured me that if we could hear the radio comms we might be surprised at the commentary on our clothing choices.


Old Mexico, As Seen From The Border Fence

One of the Border Patrol Agents related his experiences in recent months when he was assigned to Nogales, where he personally detained 27 migrants, alone, and where he advised that they had detained over 2700 children, many of them in the 4-5 year old category, without parents, and were left to decide what to do with them.  There is so much wrong with that simple tale I can’t even begin to articulate it.

This is an enormous issue, one that most Americans at home with their comfortable choices are unable to even contemplate.  Since retiring from law enforcement in southern California, where a different version of these issues confronted my own conscience on a daily basis, I have done my best to inform those in my new Oregon neighborhood about the very strange choices they will some day have to confront, largely to unappreciative ears.

But today I was here, on the border, encountering smuggling sites with piles of “carpet slippers” and other accoutrement of the every day activities on the border.  And I spent hours, frying in the Sonoran sun, with agents of our Border Patrol who betrayed only a seasoned, 1000 yard stare, attitude about what is happening on our borders.

This conversation is not going away, and I have my own experiences to inform an input, but what I can report from my first real experience here, on the front, at the fence, where the rubber meets the road, is so astonishing that I can only fail to report it accurately.  That is particularly true after enjoying a Jameson’s, or three, with one of the wounded vets I am here with, a guy who took a .762 round through his face while fighting in Somalia.

Do you remember that?

Let’s take a look at what we are doing, friends.  The world is a gigantic place, full of venom, and young Americans keep paying the price for these elections, whose lurid and furious spectacle we keep enjoying daily, and the putrid pile of candidates we must choose from.

I don’t know.  I’m a little tight at the moment, blame the Jameson’s, and room 124, and maybe I’m even a little pissed off.  I’m here with men who fought and suffered real consequences from these decisions, real wounds and recovery in their bodies, from Panama to Mogadishu to Ramadi, and I can only offer in discussion my own tiny wounds, earned on the hard and dark streets of America, defending the constitution each and every night, or in broad daylight in nice neighborhoods, in violent confrontations, and their outcomes, or one sad and regrettable late night where I came home with my uniform covered in fresh, dripping, blood, and where my wife, that Angel I do not deserve, took my pants and shirt and hosed them off in the back yard of our house–while sending me to bed with assurances that all was well.

Geezus.  What did I ever do to deserve a woman that solid?

I have no answer.  But I know something is happening to our dream, that frontier dream where we get to build a life against the intrusions of government, against those agents of destruction or disinformation, of some other easy dream, those agents of destruction who live for weeks, or months, in our national monuments, paid off by people who buy white tigers and rhinos and giraffes for their compounds, and who peddle cheap white chrystals of death to our children, whose ultimate aim, whether they know it or not, is to kill freedom and choice and benevolence forever.  And all of it is supported by those chattering heads we study each night on our televisions, who can’t for even a minute utter a single sentence in defense of our own history and traditions and those deeper beliefs who have defined us for 200 years.

I have kicked doors in the United States, number 1 in the stack of young men with badges trying to defend something, and entered rooms with statues representing only death, with burning candles and offerings of food, or money, or even pounds of dope, and been forced to wonder, where is the world I believed in once?

Come here, friends, take a look around.  Read the tea leaves.  Talk to people.  Ask questions.  Ask yourself.  Something is going on.  None of it resembles your expectations.

  1. Craig…

    Two sides to every border.

    Two sides to every story.

    The long scar that separates us.

    It is a two-headed rattle snake.

    I am against any on either side that exploits the innocent.

    I am for all that protect the innocent.

    We all are traveling on stolen lands.

    — ST
    Desert Center, CA



    1. Agreed. I have no use for the smugglers, none for the peddlers of dope death, or the criminals who keep trying to come back here and live as parasites. But if I was in desperate times in a corrupt land, with no hope, I would certainly do what needed to be done for freedom and opportunity.



  2. Not so surprised by what you’re encountering and appreciate your commentary/observations. Your post comes on the heals of a message (see below) I received from a squadron mate from our days in Vietnam which I’m still processing…need to dig deeper but if true it only confirms what we’ve all come to experience in the lack of leadership, courage and convictions by those in power. Trust is earned, not voted, and it is sorely missing. Here’s the excerpt… ………………………………………………………………………………….. EVER WONDERED WH SO MANY OF OUR AVIATORS IN VIETAM GOT SHOT DOWN?

    “The Secret War and Other Conflicts” (Published 2014 by GENERAL PETE PIOTROWSKI ISBN 978-1-4931-6187-4 (Hardcover))

    Following is a quote of much interest, from pages 246/247:

    “Nearly twenty years later, former Secretary of State Dean Rusk being interviewed by Peter Arnett on a CBC documentary called, “The Ten Thousand Day War”.

    Mr Arnett asked, “It has been rumored that the United States provided the North Vietnamese government the names of the targets that would be bombed the following day. Is there any truth to that allegation?”

    To everyone’s astonishment and absolute disgust, the former Secretary responded, “Yes. We didn’t want to harm the North Vietnamese people, so we passed the targets to the Swiss embassy in Washington with instructions to pass them to the NVN government through their embassy in Hanoi.” As we watched in horror, Secretary Rusk went on to say, “All we wanted to do is demonstrate to the North Vietnamese leadership that we could strike targets at will, but we didn’t want to kill innocent people. By giving the North Vietnamese advanced warning of the targets to be attacked, we thought they would tell the workers to stay home.”

    No wonder all the targets were so heavily defended day after day! The NVN obviously moved as many guns as they could overnight to better defend each target they knew was going to be attacked. Clearly, many brave American Air Force and Navy fliers died or spent years in NVN prison camps as a direct result of being intentionally betrayed by Secretary Rusk and Secretary McNamara, and perhaps, President Johnson himself.

    I cannot think of a more duplicitous and treacherous act of American government officials. Dean Rusk served as Secretary of State from January 21, 1961, through to January 20, 1969, under President John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

    Mr. Peter Arnett opined that “this would be a treasonous act by anyone else.” A very sad revelation.



    1. Whoa! Please keep me posted on what you learn about this. If true…well…this is just disgusting.



  3. Great presentation Craig; Jameson’s or not! I’m reminded of the line from “a few good men” by Jack Nicholson when he said in response to the question by Tom Cruise, “You can’t stand the truth son”.
    That’s a I feel after reading this article. Like you say, “things are changing” and there’s nothing those of us sequestered away in our gated HOA “guarded” fortresses can do about it.

    Great job! Keep up the good work!



  4. Rest assured the ‘establishment’ prefers to keep business as usual on the border. It is a sick and sad situation perpetuated by seasoned comfort zones in D.C. that, despite their protestations to the contrary, fear only that which threatens the existing power structure which sadly, is corrupt at its core. <



    1. Yes. One of the BP Station commanders gave us a long talk about how they handle their business each day, on the shifting tide of policy and establishment politics. I found the BP guys in general to be a very motivated, serious, but fun bunch. They were also very young. Ajo Station is so far from anywhere I think they feel they are on an island, and there was strong sense of team work in evidence.



  5. Chrisitne DeForest March 17, 2016 at 11:35 am

    Well done, even with the power of Jamison’s driving the pen. Posted it.



  6. Craig…

    What you are bringing to us is a solemn and tragic reminder of what the past has wrought and how the devil has come for his due. You and all of the rest of us are caught in the bargain. Better to hold onto faith without results than no faith at all. I hope against hope for results as well. As I have traveled all across this great land ( on every kind of trail ) I am grateful for the remnants of what is worthy that we still have, but oh so tearful and fearful of what I have witnessed of it’s increasing demise. If we are to be held up for what we stand for, we better start standing up! Bring us the higher truth. I stand with you! Keep the faith!

    — ST

    A reminder:



    1. Agreed. I don’t lose faith, nor should we. I’m still among those who believe that there are enough people like Kris Eggles, a murdered park ranger, left that we can win out.



  7. John Horsefeathers March 18, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    Great adventure my friend and you guys do make a difference



  8. Some great thoughts shared by all and a solid topic Craig. The video shared, brought back a recent discussion with an arrestee a few months back (you probably know him Craig). Lineage of two separate Native American Indian tribes. Over the course of 30 minutes in an interview room the content of which had nothing to do with his arrest, he outlined the “Christ Vision” of his ancestors prior to the Spaniards or any “White man.” Our lost connection to the earth, responsibility of stewardship over our resources and what is happening to us on a global level as human beings.



    1. Would be interesting to note which tribes, to more accurately pinpoint the history, which is often not as pleasant as even the descendants believe. Do tell more.



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