calfoxwc Posted May 1, 2010 Report Share Posted May 1, 2010 Deputy shot near Stanfield found by Associated Press (April 30th, 2010 @ 5:19pm) PHOENIX - After a frantic hour-long desert search, authorities found a deputy wounded in a shootout Friday with suspected illegal immigrants apparently hauling bales of marijuana along a major smuggling corridor in southern Arizona. The deputy was found with a superficial wound - a chunk of skin torn from just above his left kidney - after being shot with an AK-47 on Friday afternoon, Pinal County sheriff's Lt. Tamatha Villar said. He was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Casa Grande, about 40 miles south of Phoenix. Villar said the deputy was doing smuggling interdiction work and found bales of marijuana in the desert. He then encountered five suspected illegal immigrants, two armed with rifles, and was shot. ``He was out on his routine daily patrol in the area when he encountered a load of marijuana out in the desert. He obviously confronted the individuals and took fire,'' Villar told The Associated Press. ``I was speaking with him just a bit ago, and he's doing fantastic.'' The deputy was alone about five miles from a rest stop along Interstate 8, about halfway between Phoenix and Tucson. The area is a well-known smuggling corridor for drugs and illegal immigrants headed from Mexico to Phoenix and the U.S. interior. ``Over the past 12 months we've seen an increase in the amount of drugs, and an increase in violence that has been going on in this particular corridor,'' Villar told KPNX. ``We've had increasing concerns in this area about being outmanned and outgunned, and unfortunately this evening, this is coming true,'' he said. The shooting came as Arizona grapples with backlash over its enactment of a tough new law targeting illegal immigration. Civil rights activists, concerned the law will lead to racial profiling, have called for a boycott of the state. The law signed by Gov. Jan Brewer last week is supported by many in the state, which has become a major gateway for drug smuggling and human trafficking from Mexico. Its passage came amid increasing anger in Arizona about violence, drug smugglers, drop houses and other problems caused by poor border security. Villar said the search for the suspects involved numerous helicopters from state and federal law enforcement agencies and scores of officers near Interstate 8 and Arizona 84 about 50 miles south of Phoenix. ``The deputy is a search-and-rescue deputy, so its not uncommon for them to work those areas A) looking for drugs and looking for people who need assistance out there,'' Villar said. ``Obviously its a high-traffic area for drug- and human-smuggling.'' Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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