FEBRUARY 12, 2009
A major U.S. city long known as an illegal immigrant sanctuary has the nation’s highest rate of ransom kidnappings, virtually all of them connected to Mexican drug cartels that have penetrated the area in the last few years.
Federal law enforcement officials have crowned Phoenix the country’s kidnap-for-ransom capital, according to a news report published this week. Arizona’s largest city, also the nation’s fifth most populous, by far has more ransom kidnappings than any other U.S. municipality and most every victim and suspect is connected to Mexican drug smugglers from Sinaloa which is located along the Pacific Coast several hours south of Arizona.
Popular among Latin American terrorists and crime organizations to raise funds, ransom kidnappings are rare in the U.S. and most local law enforcement officers never encounter one throughout their career. But Arizona has become the new drug gateway into the United States and that dubious honor comes with unprecedented violence.
In the last two years, Phoenix Police received nearly 1,000 kidnapping-for-ransom reports and authorities estimate that twice as many went unreported. Kidnappings are so rampant that the department had to create a special unit to handle the once unheard of crimes.
Similar to construction work, police say kidnapping in Phoenix relies on cheap illegal alien Mexican workers, often recruited from raunchy local bars the way contractors go to home improvement stores to hire day laborers.
Phoenix is a notorious illegal immigrant haven that has long offered undocumented aliens official sanctuary. In fact, the city’s business district (36th & Thomas) is rife with illegal aliens soliciting, trespassing, loitering and violating public health ordinances.
The Phoenix Police Department largely ignores the crisis because the city’s sanctuary policy forbids officers from asking about a suspect’s immigration status, though the mayor (Phil Gordon) supposedly reversed it a few months ago under pressure from Judicial Watch.
Mayor Gordon has long been a supporter of illegal immigration and last year he ordered the FBI to investigate a local sheriff—Maricopa County’s Joe Arpaio—for violating the civil rights of illegal aliens during arrests. Many of the apprehensions, supported by merchants, helped clean up the city’s business district.
Yet in a letter to the Justice Department, Gordon demanded an investigation into “discriminatory harassment” and “improper” stops, searches and arrests by Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies who patrol the metropolitan area. He also accused deputies of infringing on all residents’ civil rights and putting their well-being at risk.
Maybe the good mayor can ask the feds to investigate the violent Mexican drug cartel kidnappings—and the illegal immigrants who carry them out—that undoubtedly risk his constituents’ “well-being.”
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