April in Vekol Valley, Ariz.: Drug Shootings, Again

By Janice Kephart on April 16, 2011

In the same area where I filmed "Hidden Cameras on the Arizona Border 3: Guns, Drugs, and 750 Illegal Aliens", one likely drug runner was shot and another killed yesterday evening in a shoot out between drug smugglers. The exact area of the shooting, Antelope Peak, was about a mile from the first segment of that film which highlights the travel methods of drug cartels. I had recently posted new footage and analysis of the issue after hearing that drug smuggling activity from across the border had picked up again in this area known as Vekol Valley. The surge of such activity came after months of quiet caused by significant attention to the area driven by sources as diverse as my Hidden Cameras film, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu's pronounced immigration law enforcement effort, and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's immigration laws.

The Arizona Daily Star broke the story. The key facts were described as follows:

At 2:15 a.m., the Arizona Department of Public Safety received a 911 call from a woman in Phoenix who said her father had been shot in the desert south of Interstate 8 and had walked to a rest stop on the highway about 25 miles west of Casa Grande, said Pinal County Sheriff's Office spokesman Tim Gaffney.

DPS officers went to the rest stop, and after finding the man with a gunshot wound, called the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, Gaffney said. Sheriff's deputies went to the rest stop near milepost 150 on Interstate 8 and found a 35-year-old Mexican man who had been shot once. After being treated at the scene, he was flown by air ambulance to a hospital where surgery was performed. He is alive, Gaffney said.

Later at about 8:30 a.m., officers found a second victim who had been fatally shot. He was found in a layup area near Antelope Peak, which is about two miles south of Interstate 8, Gaffney said. He was a man in his mid-30s from Mexico.

The rest stop described above is the rest stop shown and discussed in the "Hidden Cameras 3" film. Antelope Peak is discussed as well.

Ironically, it has been a year this month when Pinal County Deputy Sheriff Louie Puroll was rescued from a likely drug-related shooting and two Mexican drug runners were fatally shot to death in the exact same spot.

Topics: Arizona