Magazine article Insight on the News

Southwest Border War Gets Bloody

Magazine article Insight on the News

Southwest Border War Gets Bloody

Article excerpt

Events in Phoenix several weeks back provide tragic confirmation of what Insight reported nearly a month ago (see "The People Smugglers" Aug. 23). Illegal-alien smuggling rings, flush with profits as a result of border crackdowns that increase the need for such services, are becoming as cutthroat as their murdering drug-running cousins. Now Arizona's largest city has become the people-smuggling capital of the United States -- the distribution center for a vast and well-coordinated network of operators that transports undocumented aliens into the United States from all over the world.

Casualties of the escalating border war spiked sharply in one three-day period. On a recent Saturday in Phoenix, rival gangs of alien-smuggling "coyotes" shot it out in an auto-parts-store parking lot, resulting in three deaths. Bullets flew when two rival gangs began swapping their human contraband for cash.

Then, two days later, a nine-passenger van stuffed with 33 illegal aliens crashed on the outskirts of town. Its driver was killed and 20 Hondurans sardined inside were hospitalized. Survivors say they paid smugglers $1,500 a piece to catch the ill-fated tide north from Douglas, an Arizona border town that has been overrun (see "Raiding Arizona" July 2), and were bound for jobs in North Carolina. …

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