Border Patrol agents apprehended three suspected bandits Wednesday in
a remote area of Santa Cruz County that has been plagued in recent years by
roving gangs known as “rip crews.”
On Wednesday at 2:56 a.m., the Nogales Border Patrol
Station reported to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office that agents had
detained three undocumented immigrants who claimed they were assaulted sometime
the night before in an area west of the Interstate 19
“As the result of that information, early Wednesday morning, agents from
the Tucson Sector Border Patrol apprehended three suspected bandits in a remote
area west of Tubac,” said ICE spokesperson Amber Cargile. “The effort was part
of an ongoing joint, targeted Homeland Security enforcement effort by Border
Patrol and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security
Investigations (HSI) Nogales to target bandit ‘rip crews' in the mountainous
areas near Tucson and Nogales.”
On Dec. 14, 2010, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was shot and killed by
suspected border bandits after he and his BORTAC tactical unit were sent into
the Tumacacori Mountains to flesh out the rip crews that had been assaulting
economic migrants and stealing drugs from smugglers in the area.
Since Terry's death, nearly a dozen more incidents have been reported
in the canyonlands west of Nogales in which illegal border-crossers have been
robbed often at gunpoint by masked men. On Tuesday of this week, the Santa Cruz
County Sheriff’s Office investigated an incident in which a group of
undocumented migrants were reportedly robbed in an area southwest of Arivaca
Lake. One of the victims said there were three assailants armed with assault
rifles and a pistol.
However, with the exception of the Terry shooting, no arrests have been
reported in any of the incidents until now.
Two brothers from Mexico are currently facing charges in the Terry case,
including a man who was shot during the gunbattle that left Terry dead. However,
at least one other suspect – the likely triggerman who killed Terry – is still
However, Cargile said the men arrested Wednesday are not suspects in
the Terry murder. She called the incident for which they are charged “an
Cargile did not immediately release the names of the three men who were
arrested on Wednesday, but she said they were presented in federal court the
following on hostage-taking charges and were remanded to the custody of the U.S.
“The case is still ongoing,” she added.