Arizona State Troopers Seize More Than $6 Million in Illegal Drugs in Two Traffic Stops (That Somehow Made It Across the Border)

2021-05-15 Arizona State Troopers Seize $6 Million in Illegal Drugs 800x600

Arizona State Troopers seized more than $6 million in illegal drugs on May 15 and 18.

An Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) Canine District trooper stopped the driver of a tractor-trailer on Interstate 10 westbound at milepost 237, near Marana, for multiple violations on Saturday night, May 15.

Inside the truck cab, troopers discovered 44.9 pounds of heroin, 40 pounds of fentanyl pills and 21.4 pounds of methamphetamine stowed in backpacks and duffel bags, which had somehow escaped notice while passing through a border checkpoint in Southern Arizona. AZDPS said the estimated street value of these drugs is more than $2.5 million.

The driver, 52-year-old Jesus E. Sepulveda, of Nogales, Az., was arrested on charges including possession and transportation of narcotic drugs for sale and possession of dangerous drugs for sale.

Three days later, on Tuesday, May 18th, the same trooper stopped the driver of a passenger car heading eastbound on Interstate 10 eastbound at milepost 48, in the Salome area, for a traffic violation. Searching the vehicle, troopers found 74 pounds of fentanyl pills with an estimated street value of $3.7 million, which had also somehow made it through the southern border.

The driver, 21-year-old Andrew Reyna of Los Angeles, was booked into La Paz County Jail on charges of possession and transportation of a narcotic drug for sale.

2021-05-28 Jesus Sepulveda arrested for transporting millions in illegal drugs

Jesus E. Sepulveda, 52, of Nogales, Az., was arrested on charges including possession and transportation of narcotic drugs for sale.

2021-05-15 Driver Reyna Andrew arrested for transporting illegal drugs

Andrew Reyna, 21, of Los Angeles, was booked into La Paz County Jail on charges of possession and transportation of a narcotic drug for sale.

“Arizona’s Border Strike Force continues to seize significant amounts of illegal narcotics coming across the southern border,” said Gov. Doug Ducey. “Keeping these dangerous and deadly drugs out of America’s schools and neighborhoods is a heroic effort. I’m grateful to this State Trooper and all who serve the people of Arizona fighting the flow of drug smuggling and human trafficking across the border.”

The goal of the Arizona Border Strike Force (BSF) is to deter, disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organizations that breach the border in their quest to conduct criminal activity in our state.

The BSF operations focus on statewide roving criminal interdiction patrol details, intelligence-led remote area operations, outbound details, and deterrent saturation patrols. Specific units within the Border Strike Force Bureau include the Canine District, the Southern Investigations District, and the Vehicle Theft District.

Posted May 28, 2021

Az. Gov. Ducey Declares Gun Shops ‘Essential,’ Protecting Them from Frivolous Lawsuits

Gov. Ducey signs law declaring gun shops essential, protecting them from lawsuits

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on May 8 signs law declaring gun shops ‘essential,’ protecting them against frivolous lawsuits

Az. Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation May 8 to protect the Second Amendment rights of Arizonans by safeguarding against frivolous lawsuits that have no connection to unlawful use of firearms. The new state law mirrors federal law that was passed on a bipartisan basis.

Ducey, in his 2020 declaration of the pandemic emergency, had already specifically declared that places where guns and ammo are sold are essential and exempt from any closure requirements due to COVID-19.

“With efforts currently underway in Washington to erode Second Amendment rights, Arizona is taking action to protect those rights,” Gov. Ducey said. “In Arizona, we’re safeguarding manufacturers, sellers and trade associations. Bad actors need to be held accountable, and we will work to make sure they are. But we’re not going to allow lawsuit after lawsuit to slowly tear down the Constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens in our state.

“Senate Bill 1382 achieves this goal, and I’m grateful to Rep. Quang Nguyen and Sen. Wendy Rogers for leading on this important legislation.”

Senate Bill 1382 prohibits the state and all entities of the state from suing a member of the firearms industry for lawful design, marketing, distribution, and sale of firearms and ammunition to the public. The legislation also prohibits a civil action from being brought against a manufacturer or seller of a firearm or ammunition or related trade association for damages resulting from the criminal misuse of the firearm or ammunition, with exceptions.

Additionally, it protects manufacturers or sellers of firearms and ammunition from civil action for damages resulting from the criminal misuse of the firearm or ammunition, except in specified circumstances.

“Arizona is—and will remain—a strong Second Amendment state,” Judi White of Tucson, a champion of gun rights who has long been active in the NRA, told Prescottenews. “We can’t let flippant lawsuits hinder operations of firearm or ammunition manufacturers, sellers and trade associations that are following the law. Senate Bill 1382 makes sure of that. Thank you, Governor Ducey, for signing legislation that protects citizens’ Constitutional rights.”

In 2005, Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) which provides federal protection for law-abiding firearms and ammunition industry members against frivolous lawsuits. PLCAA has been challenged in recent years, including in April 2021 when President Joe Biden stated removing PLCAA as a top priority of his administration. Senate Bill 1382 codifies the federal provisions under state law.

Additional Information at BearingArms.com

Posted May 10, 2021

Arizona Bans Post-Election Signature ‘Fix’ for Unsigned Mail-in Ballots

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a law that bans voters from adding signatures on unsigned mail-in ballots after Election Day.

The measure, Arizona Senate Bill 1003 (S.B. 1003), was approved earlier in the state legislature in party-line votes with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed.

mail truck delivers ballots for dems

The new law codifies a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on Oct. 6, 2020, within one month of the 2020 election. It also ended disputes over unsigned mail-in ballots between the state Republicans and Democrats.

Current Arizona law allows election officials to contact voters to fix the signatures on the ballots if the signatures don’t match other signatures from records in the Department of Motor Vehicle, voter registration forms, or previous early ballots. The voters can fix the signatures, if they failed to pass the verification process, within up to five business days after Election Day.

While the new law didn’t change anything about the grace period for the signed ballots, it ended state Democrats’ efforts to add a similar grace period to unsigned ballots.

According to The Epoch Times, Hobbs’s move is part of efforts to honor a settlement in 2019 with the Navajo Nation, which would allow tribal voters with mismatched or missing signatures on mail-in ballots to correct their ballots with five business days after Election Day.

However, the efforts were stopped by appeals court judges who said, in alignment with the state Republicans, that the Democrats went too far by giving absentee voters five days after Election Day to correct missing signatures on mail-in ballots.

“All ballots must have some deadline, and it is reasonable that Arizona has chosen to make that deadline Election Day itself so as to promote its unquestioned interest in administering an orderly election and to facilitate its already burdensome job of collecting, verifying, and counting all of the votes in timely fashion,” the appellate court said.

The new law codified the appeal court’s ruling by adding an amendment to the current Arizona election law. The amendment requires all mail-in ballots to be delivered to the county recorder, other officers in charge of the election, or polling sites no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day.

“The ballot will not be counted without the voter’s signature on the envelope,” reads the amendment.

Another amendment in the new law required election officers to contact the voter if the signature is missing on the ballot. The deadline for adding a signature to a ballot should be no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer had urged Ducey to veto the measure, saying it would undermine the 2019 settlement.

Arizona Gov. Ducey Won’t Accept Election Results Until All Lawsuits Are Settled

PHOENIX, AZ. – Gov. Doug Ducey announced the state’s election isn’t over until all court cases have been settled, as the Trump campaign and state GOP filed lawsuits in Maricopa County in a bid to block officials from certifying the election results due to alleged voter irregularities and improprieties.

“There are legal claims that are being challenged in court and everybody on the ballot has certain access rights and remedies and if they want to push that they are able. Once those are adjudicated and the process plays out, I will accept the results of the election,” the Republican governor said in a news conference on Wednesday. It was the first time he held one since the Nov. 3 election.

Gov. Doug Ducey, R-AZ

Ducey has not called Democratic challenger Joe Biden the winner of the election. The governor noted that he heard about voting issues in the state but hasn’t personally seen any evidence.

Arizona state law gives all Arizona counties until Nov. 23 to certify the results of the election. Then, the counties are to send in their results to the Secretary of State’s office, which then has another 10 days to certify the statewide results. The Secretary of State, Katie Hobbs, has called Trump’s “base” of supporters “neo-Nazis.”

Biden and Trump

While several news outlets have described Biden as the president-elect and declared him the winner, outlets such as The Epoch Times has not, pending the outcome of lawsuits and other processes needed to complete the election and finally declare a winner.

The Electoral College votes next month, and Congress will hold its Joint Session to formally count electoral votes and declare official election results in early January. According to the unofficial vote count, as of Nov. 18, Biden is ahead of Trump by about 11,000 votes in Arizona. Earlier this week, the Arizona GOP moved to halt county officials in the state to delay certifying their results.

“The party is pushing for not only the county supervisors but everyone responsible for certifying and canvassing the election to make sure that all questions are answered so that voters will have confidence in the results of the election,” said Zach Henry, a spokesman for the Arizona Republican Party, reported The Associated Press.

The party also filed a lawsuit to request a hand-count in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, of a sampling of ballots. They also are seeking a court order prohibiting the county from certifying results until that case is decided.

“This case is about delay—not the adjudication of good faith claims,” lawyers for Secretary of State Hobbs said in response, AP reported. Hobbs, a Democrat, also claimed Nov. 18 she is receiving threats of violence following the election, alleging that Trump and other GOP members are spreading misinformation. Hobbs did not provide any evidence for her claims of violence.

-Updated Nov. 19, 2020

Washington State’s “sanctuary” laws led to murder by illegal alien, immigration reform group says

Kent, Wash. — An illegal alien charged with murder exploited “sanctuary” laws to remain in country despite numerous arrests for criminal conduct, according to an investigation by the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI).

Jorge Omar Alcantara-Gonzalez, 34, is a Mexican national who was arrested in June after a multi-county 23-day manhunt in connection with the disappearance of Ian Eckles, who lived in the town of Kent, Wash. Eckles’ body has not been found. Alcantara-Gonzalez was arraigned on June 19 and entered not guilty pleas to second-degree murder and 22 other crimes. He is being held on $3 million bail.

While the case of Eckles’ disappearance is tragic, the circumstances of how Alcantara-Gonzalez managed to remain in the United States for so long are even more disturbing, the IRLI said.

King County (Wash.) Sheriff’s Office records obtained by IRLI confirm that he had been arrested at least four times in the past several years in the state. Among his charges were driving while intoxicated, theft of a motor vehicle and failure to comply. In every instance, Alcantara-Gonzalez was eventually released back into the community.  A review of court records also reveal that he relied on public defenders each time he faced the justice system.

Wanted poster for Jorge Omar Alcantara-Gonzalez

After each previous arrest, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had issued detainer requests to King County, asking local officials to hold Alcantara-Gonzalez long enough for an ICE agent to arrive at the detention center and assume custody of him. ICE altogether lodged four different detainers on Alcantara-Gonzalez following his arrests. The detainers were ignored each time and he was allowed to go free, released back into the community to commit more crimes.

Despite his presence in the U.S. illegally and his repeated violations of the law, King County officials refused to cooperate with ICE’s request to allow a transfer of custody. Even though they were repeatedly blocked in their previous efforts to deport him, ICE announced  on May 28 it would help local law enforcement  locate Alcantara-Gonzalez after he became a suspect in Eckles’ disappearance.

“This case is a perfect storm of reckless sanctuary policies and a failure to enforce our immigration laws,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “The alleged perpetrator entered the U.S. illegally, re-entered after multiple deportations, committed numerous crimes and was shielded from further deportation. The family of Mr. Eckles are right to be furious about this. If not for sanctuary policies in Washington state, Mr. Eckles would likely be alive today. State and local leaders there have a lot to answer for.”

Welcome, illegal immigrants 8x5

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, signed an executive order in February 2017 that forbids state agencies from enforcing federal immigration law.

Doubling down on this sanctuary measure, Inslee in May 2019 signed into law the “Keep Washington Working Act,” which prohibits jails in the state from holding detainees for federal immigration officials based solely on an ICE detainer or immigration hold. The law is considered one of the most radical sanctuary policies in the country.

“I think it’s absolutely disgusting that a form of government could release somebody like that back into the population after committing crimes in a country that they don’t belong in legally,” Nathan Eckles, Ian’s brother, said to IRLI. “This all could have been avoided so very easily if these cities that have these policies would have just let immigration do their job,” he continued.”

While state law supersedes anything passed at the local level, King County also has in place its own anti-immigration enforcement measures. An ordinance passed in November 2009 prohibits the county sheriff’s office from inquiring about an individual’s immigration status. King County includes the city of Seattle.