By Brenda Norrell
|Photo by Brenda Norrell|
SASABE, Ariz. — A self proclaimed, heavily armed assassin told agents on the Arizona border in March that he is bringing in a team of assassins to Sasabe, a remote area of the Sonoran Desert where unarmed migrants are often found dead, victims of violence.
It is the second time that e-mails leaked by hackers in the Chinga La Migra data revealed contract killers here at Sasabe, southwest of Tucson, hunting for migrants. In the first police e-mail leaked, off-duty Marines were exposed patrolling with assault weapons.
In this second e-mail from police files, agents working in the town of Sasabe in March said they were approached by a man who engaged in a conversation with agents.
The agents said they immediately noticed that the man had a Glock pistol holstered on his right hip. The man also retrieved a Saiga shotgun, along with a 10 round magazine and a 20 round drum magazine from his truck and showed the agents.
“He stated that he is soon to receive funding in the amount of $350,000.00 from what he described as ‘Concerned citizens’ and that he planned to use this funding to bring up to five men into the area.”
The self-proclaimed mercenary “went on to describe these men, as well as himself, as prior military, all with extensive experience such as Recon, Sniper and Ranger Training, etc., and plans to conduct mercenary type operations in both the Sasabe, Arizona and Sasabe, Sonora border area,” the police report states.
The self-proclaimed assassin said he has “Improvised Explosive Devices” deployed in the desert near Sasabe.
Agents were urged to take extreme caution while working in the area near Sasabe. In April, after the man was seen in Sasabe, there was a five hour police search of the area with a bomb crew.
The investigation of the self-proclaimed assassin becomes more bizarre when Todd Russell Hezlitt arrives on the scene in Sasabe.
Todd Russell Hezlitt is described by police as a past affiliate of the self-proclaimed assassin.
However, in the police report Hezlitt claims he is performing surveillance on the man, following contact from Intel about the man’s “alleged Improvised Explosive Devices deployed in the desert near Sasabe and other erratic behavior.”
“Hezlitt claims he wants to help us run him out of Sasabe” and that Hezlitt no longer associates with him, the police report states.
“Hezlitt did have a weapon on him and was also wearing body armor at the time of the encounter.” (The complete hacked police file is available in several places now on the Internet: alexlibman.net/dl/lulzsec/chinga_la_migra/booty/files/JIOC%2011-04-0002%20Update.pdf)
Todd R. Hezlitt is easily found on the Internet as both a member of the Marine Corps and being rejected from the police academy of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.
Hezlitt is also shown to be an associate of Shawna Forde, leader of the Minutemen American Defense, convicted in the murder of a nine-year-old and her father in Arivaca. Forde received the death sentence in February for her role in the murder of Raul “Junior” Flores, 29, and his daughter, Brisenia, 9, on May 30, 2009.
At Phoenix New Times, Stephen Lemons reported on Hezlitt two years ago and the disturbing connections between Minutemen and Arizona law enforcement.
Lemons wrote in 2009: “Cooperation between law enforcement and minuteman groups is a worrisome issue in Arizona, especially with Sheriff Joe Arpaio here in Maricopa County.” blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/bastard/2009/07/shawna_forde_associate_…
The exposure of the self-proclaimed assassin in Sasabe, a tiny community on the border south of Three Points, is the second time that assassins in Sasabe were exposed in the police data released by hackers in the Chinga La Migra files.
In the previous e-mail exposing contract assassins here, the police e-mails reported an encounter with an off-duty Marine hunting migrants with assault weapons in Sasabe. The information was in a report for the month of October, 2008, by Arizona’s HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) Investigative Support Center.
“In other incidents reported in October, U.S. Border Patrol agents encountered two subjects who claimed to be members of the Border Watch Group the Blue Lights based on the Caballo Loco Ranch. The subjects, armed with pistols and at least one M4 rifle, were dressed in full desert camouflage uniforms, similar to those of the United States military. They stated they were not members of the Minutemen, but paid contract employees who ‘get the job done’ and ‘were not just volunteers.’ They possessed valid United States Marine Corps identification cards.”
Assassins, patriots and white separatists camping at the Caballo Loco Ranch have posted online.
An Internet user who called himself “Marine 1,” posted online at the Patriots Border Alliance and described Operation Ice Storm scheduled for January of 2008 and based at the Caballo Loco RV Ranch. “Since being asked by many Minutemen this past spring to form a border watch group, we have performed one weekend and one 30 Day Muster in Palominas Arizona and New Mexico. We have stood in protest and supported the ongoing events at Pruitts Furniture Store in Phoenix, and we continue to be active and help stop illegal immigration across the land.”
The posted message included directions to the Caballo Loco RV Ranch: From Tucson, take Hwy 86 west to Three Points. Take Rt 286 South, just before mile marker 34 make a left turn onto a dirt road, follow that for 8 miles. The road is well graded and suitable for cars. The dirt road is marked with a sign, “Caballo Loco RV Ranch.”
In the hacked police e-mails, Arizona police also took note of Riflestock 2011, which was advertised online for the southern Arizona border.
The public announcment said, “Suppose a couple thousand patriots, and their families, showed up near the Mexican border, somewhere in Arizona, for a weekend of fun, music, games, shooting, hiking, and, good old fashioned comradery. Would this event be newsworthy? Perhaps approaching that of Woodstock, back in1969? Would it send a message to the government that, “If you won’t protect our borders, then, we will”?
“Riflestock is not intended to be a border operation, itself, though the ability to see the damage done, take pictures of illegal critters, and, perhaps, scare the hell out of some of them, by our sheer numbers, and to actually visit the site of America’s ongoing war with illegal border crossings, is in the offing.
“The event is intended to run from Friday, March 18, through Sunday, March 20, with a pig roast (bring your Muslim friends) on Saturday afternoon,” the Riflestock announcement said.
On the southern Arizona border, human rights organizations, including Derechos Humanos and No More Deaths, have exposed the xenophobia targeting migrants and the escalating violence, resulting in beatings, shooting deaths and hanging of migrants.
Derechos Humanos in Tucson has documented the deaths of migrants in the desert, including the victims of death by blunt force trauma, shotgun blasts and other violence:
Hackers expose racismm’s underbelly: Driving while Black, Brown or Red in Arizona
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Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 29 years, serving as a writer for Navajo Times and a stringer for AP and USA Today during the 18 years she lived on the Navajo Nation. After being a longtime staff reporter for Indian Country Today, she was censored and terminated. She then created Censored News, focused on Indigenous Peoples and human rights, now in its fifth year.