Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich Tells the Feds to Back Off the State’s Audit of the 2020 Election

In a June 14 letter Monday, Brnovich called U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s comments last week expressing concern about post-election audits “troubling.”

“Your statements displayed an alarming disdain for state sovereignty,” Brnovich wrote. “My office is not amused by the DOJ’s posturing and will not tolerate any effort to undermine or interfere with our State Senate’s audit to reassure Arizonans of the accuracy of our elections.”

The audit of the vote in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous county, ordered by state Senate Republicans, began in April.

“Arizona will not sit back and let the Biden administration abuse its authority, refuse to uphold laws, or attempt to commandeer our state’s sovereignty,” Brnovich wrote.

Former President Donald Trump has praised the audit and urged other states to launch their own election reviews. (NOTE: The Washington Times, a never-Trumper news source some consider “conservative,” claimed that Trump “continues to make baseless claims that Democrats stole the election from him through widespread voter fraud.”)

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

Canine Detects Meth Hidden in Vehicle Headrest

YUMA, Ariz. – A Yuma Sector canine alerted Border Patrol agents to a suspicious-smelling vehicle in which one pound of methamphetamine was found hidden in a seat headrest.

2021-05-13 fentanyl sniffed out by K9 Brit

At approximately 10:30 a.m. on May 28, Blythe Border Patrol agents encountered a Nissan Pathfinder as it traveled through the California immigration checkpoint on Highway 78. Agents referred the vehicle to the checkpoint’s secondary inspection area after a canine “alerted” agents something was problematic with the vehicle.

During a search of the vehicle, agents discovered that one of the seat’s headrests had a plastic bag hidden inside that contained one pound of methamphetamine, worth approximately $1,800-$5,000.

Record checks conducted on the Nissan’s three occupants, all U.S. citizens from Blythe, Calif., revealed the driver, a 34-year-old male, had an outstanding warrant in El Centro, California, for a previous drug smuggling attempt five months earlier through the same checkpoint. Customs and Border Patrol (CPB) said the unnamed man was turned over to local law enforcement for the warrant and will be charged for drug possession and/or transportation for sale.

The other two passengers in the vehicle, a 26-year-old male and 31-year-old female, also had extensive criminal history with charges related to drug possession and sales. One of them was cited in this incident and both were subsequently released. (Editor’s Note: Yes, the CBP says they were “released.”)

Posted May 28, 2021

Border Patrol Agents Arrest a Gang Member and Two Child Sexual Predators

EDINBURG, Texas – Rio Grande Valley Sector Border Patrol agents arrested a female 18th Street gang member, and two other illegal aliens previously convicted of sexual crimes involving children.

McAllen Border Patrol Station (MCS) agents working near Hidalgo, Texas, on May 26 arrested several aliens who had illegally entering the United States. One of those arrested was a Salvadoran adult female who admitted during processing that she was a member of the 18th Street gang.  [Related story, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell]

caution border crossers Rio Grande City Border Patrol Station agents apprehended a group of 10 illegals in Roma, Texas on May 27.  During processing, agents discovered one illegal alien, identified as Edwin Francisco Mejia-Iglesias, a national of El Salvador, who previously had been arrested in 2018 by the Tomball, Texas, Police Department for online solicitation of a minor for sexual conduct.  He was convicted and sentenced to six years probation.

Also on May 27, MCS agents apprehended another group of 10 “migrants” near Havana, Texas.  After the subjects were taken into custody and transported to the station, agents discovered one of the detainees, a Mexican national, previously had been arrested by police in Phoenix, Arizona in 2016 for sexual conduct with a minor. He was convicted and sentenced to five years incarceration. The Border Patrol did not release his name.

Editor’s Note: The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol no longer refers to people entering the U.S. illegally as illegal immigrants. They are now called “migrants” or “non-citizens.”

GOP Chair Elise Stefanik: Justice Department Is ‘Trying to Block’ Maricopa County Audit

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), who was recently elected as the House Republican Conference chair, said the Department of Justice’s questions about the Maricopa County, Arizona, audit of the 2020 election may be unconstitutional.

On May 5, the Justice Department sent a letter to Arizona Senate leader Karen Fann, a Republican, inquiring about the custody of the ballots under review by a group of private contractors, alleging that the group’s other processes—including the canvassing of addresses—could be considered “voter intimidation.”

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R.-NY)

“I support that audit,” Stefanik said after being asked about it in a Fox Business interview on May 16. “Transparency is good for the American people. And again, this should be a nonpartisan issue, whether you are Republican, Democrat, independent, or conservative, transparency is important, and the audit was passed by the Arizona state Senate.”

Stefanik later said that the “Biden Department of Justice is trying to block that audit,” which, she said, “is unconstitutional from my perspective.”

“Our states, constitutionally, are responsible for writing states’ constitution law,” she said.

Pamela Karlan, principal deputy assistant attorney general with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, wrote to Fann that “the proposed work of the audit raises concerns regarding potential intimidation of voters.”

Fann replied that the plan by election auditors to verify the validity of certain voters had been placed on hold.

“If and to the extent the Senate subsequently decides that canvassing is necessary to the successful completion of the audit, its vendor will implement detailed requirements to ensure that the canvassing is conducted in a manner that complies fully with the commands of the United States Constitution and federal and state civil rights laws,” Fann wrote earlier this month.

The Epoch Times reports that Stefanik’s comments on May 16 came just days after Dominion Voting Systems and Maricopa County officials said they wouldn’t provide passwords for election machines in Maricopa County. Dominion said it would comply with the audit, but that Cyber Ninjas—the company hired by the Arizona state Senate—isn’t accredited by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

Stefanik was approved last week in a vote by House Republicans to become the Republican Conference chair—the party’s No. 3 position in the House. She took over after GOP lawmakers voted to remove Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), a frequent critic of former President Donald Trump and other Republicans, from the position.

Posted May 17, 2021

Yuma Sector Canine Sniffs Out Fentanyl; Kingman Residents Involved

YUMA, Ariz. – A Yuma Sector canine working at the immigration checkpoint on Highway 78 near Blythe, Calif., on May 13 sniffed out a sandwich bag containing fentanyl pills hidden in a suitcase.

At approximately 8 a.m., Border Patrol agents referred a Toyota Prius to the checkpoint’s secondary inspection area following a canine alert. Agents determined that the four vehicle occupants were U.S. citizens from Kingman, Az. Three of them drove to Calexico, Calif., to pick up the fourth and they were in the process of heading back to Kingman when they drove through the checkpoint.

Border Patrol agents confiscated a sandwich bag containing fentanyl pills.
Border Patrol agents confiscated a sandwich bag containing fentanyl pills.

During a search of the vehicle, agents found a plastic bag containing 77 grams of fentanyl pills, worth approximately $1,800, in a suitcase that belonged to the 32-year-old female who was picked up in Calexico. Border agents arrested the woman and seized the fentanyl.

Fentanyl is an extremely powerful synthetic opioid similar to morphine but 50 to 100 times more potent. Only two milligrams of fentanyl can be lethal. The female smuggler possessed the equivalent of 77,000 milligrams of fentanyl, the Border Patrol said.

Posted May 17, 2021

AOC Berated, Falsely Accused Border Patrol Agent of Taking Selfies of Her, Memos Say

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) sobs at a fence supposedly caging illegal immigrant children, but actually next to an empty parking lot.

In this ‘photo op’ from June 24, 2019, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) sobs in front of a fence supposedly caging immigrant children ‘stolen’ from their parents. In reality, the other side of the fence is a parking lot (shown at bottom of this page). Photo: TheGatewayPundit.com

An “agitated and animated” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., began “pointing and screaming” at a female agent during a 2019 visit to a Border Patrol station in El Paso, Texas, according to government documents.

“I as a woman of color do not feel safe here,” Ocasio-Cortez told the female agent, according to an official memorandum that summarizes her comments, sometimes using quotation marks.

Ocasio-Cortez said the Border Patrol agent—whose name is redacted in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection documents—used her cellphone to take a photograph of herself with the New York congresswoman in the background.

Ocasio-Cortez went on “to personally admonish and berate” the agent and to insist that “that woman cannot work with children,” according to CBP memos resulting from a Border Patrol investigation of the incident.

Details of the episode are contained in nine pages of documents regarding the July 1, 2019, visit by Ocasio-Cortez and 13 other House Democrats to the Processing Command Center of the federal government’s El Paso station. At the time, Ocasio-Cortez had been in Congress just over six months.

The Daily Signal obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act request to Customs and Border Protection, which operates the facility and other stations along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Ocasio-Cortez tweeted later that day that a Border Patrol officer “attacked” her.

The female agent denied Ocasio-Cortez’s accusations, first to her supervisor and later in a written memo the same day. The agent’s supervisor reviewed the agent’s cellphone and found no photos that included Ocasio-Cortez, according to one memo.

Two other Border Patrol agents also said they didn’t see their colleague take any selfies, according to the documents.

The Daily Signal emailed Ocasio-Cortez’s Capitol Hill office for comment May 10, sending messages to two spokespersons as well as the main address for press inquiries. No one from the office had responded by the end of the day. The news website also asked Customs and Border Protection for any updated information on the matter, such as personnel hearings or disciplinary actions. CBP also did not respond immediately.

Most of the House members who visited the El Paso station were, like Ocasio-Cortez, part of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The lawmakers’ visit came during the emotionally charged period in which border officials separated children from adults, including their own family, after they unlawfully crossed the border from Mexico.

Ocasio-Cortez chose to skip much of the lawmakers’ tour of the facility and instead visited with female illegal immigrants in a separate area, according to the documents.

“During the briefing, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez began loudly knocking on the window of the processing area and alleged that a Border Patrol Agent (BPA) was taking a ‘selfie’ photo of her,” says one memo, dated July 2, 2019.

The Border Patrol agent in charge at the time sent this memo describing the 11:45 a.m. incident the day before to Aaron A. Hull, chief Border Patrol agent for the El Paso sector. CBP redacted the names of the accused Border Patrol agent and the agent in charge, as well as other agents mentioned in the memos.

“Rep. Ocasio-Cortez abruptly voiced an allegation that a female agent outside of the REDACTED had just taken a selfie with Rep. Ocasio-Cortez in the background,” the agent in charge said in another memo dated July 2 and sent to the acting agent in charge. “Rep. Ocasio-Cortez not only verbally voiced this concern, she became agitated and animated as she began to bang on the glass, pointing and screaming at the agent.”

“I excused myself from the briefing and addressed the female agent,” explaining what Ocasio-Cortez alleged, the agent in charge wrote. According to the memo, the accused agent “immediately denied taking any photo.”

The accused agent “did admit to having her cell phone in her hand and showed me the current image on the screen,” the agent in charge wrote. “The image appeared to me to be web-based and had nothing to do with interior photos of the detention area.”

According to the memo, the confrontation heated up after the agent in charge spoke with the accused agent. Ocasio-Cortez emerged “to personally admonish and berate” the female agent, “accusing her of unprofessional conduct and asking if she will have future contact with children,” the agent in charge wrote the next day.

“Rep. Ocasio-Cortez voiced that BPA REDACTED should have no contact with children, suggesting her unprofessional conduct (alleged photo) as the reason why,” the memo says.

Ocasio-Cortez tweeted about the incident after it was leaked the same day to the Washington Examiner and the newspaper published a story. Until now, though, details and documents about the altercation have been scarce.

“And to these CBP officers saying they felt ‘threatened’ by me— They were literally discussing making a GoFundMe for an officer who attacked my [sic] on my tour,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter. “They confiscated my phone, and they were all armed. I’m 5’4”. They’re just upset I exposed their inhumane behavior.”

It’s not clear whether Ocasio-Cortez, in mentioning the “officer who attacked,” was referring to the female Border Patrol agent whom she accused of taking a selfie with her in the background.

Besides spreading her allegations on Twitter personally, AOC’s staff got in the act. Her spokesman at the time, Corbin Trent, told The Washington Post for a story published the next day, that a Border Patrol agent was trying to take a “stealth selfie” and did so “in a mocking manner.”

The whole story is worth reading at The Daily Signal.

The real view on the other side of the fence AOC is sobbing against.

Shown above is the other side of the fence AOC is depicted at the top of the page sobbing against. Yes, it is a parking lot.

Posted May 11, 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 Senate Threatens Subpoenas: Az. GOP Chairman Kelli Ward Offers Update on Maricopa County Election Audit

Arizona GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward provides an update on the Maricopa County audit, including the legal battles, in the video below.  Chairwoman Ward outlines how the county board of supervisors has been discovered to have withheld material evidence from the audit despite a court order demanding compliance.

Officials in Maricopa County are refusing to comply with subpoenas from the state Senate that require them to turn over routers or router images to auditors reviewing the November 2020 election. There are certain to be more legal battles ahead as the auditors demand access to all the equipment, including the passwords the county is withholding. Stay tuned.

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.