OCTOBER 23, 2007
The National Forest Service has been forced to team up with the U.S. Border Patrol to protect nature-loving hikers from being victimized by violent drug traffickers and alien smugglers that use the pristine areas to enter the country from Mexico.
Violent activities have escalated so much in the Coronado National Forest that federal officers originally sworn in to protect the lush landscape and keep its visitors safe from natural danger and the wild habitat, have been forced to deal with illegal immigration.
Spanning nearly 2 million acres from southeastern Arizona to southwestern New Mexico, the Coronado National forest has a dozen widely scattered mountain ranges that rise form the desert floor. The lush terrain includes colorful wildflowers, soothing mountain streams and plenty of animals and exotic birds.
Increasingly, however, unsuspecting visitors immersed in the forest’s tranquility have encountered the kind of crime that comes with illegal immigration and narcotic smuggling. Because parts of the Coronado National Forest sit beside Mexico, drug cartels and alien smugglers are increasingly using it to enter the United States.
The forest’s remote makeshift roads are especially popular with drug smugglers avoiding U.S. Border Patrol agents. In fact, thousands of pounds of marijuana worth millions of dollars have been intercepted in the area and an unknown amount has probably made it into the U.S.
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