By Jim Meyers | Wednesday, 30 Mar 2011 01:25 PM
Controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio isn’t buying Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano’s claims that the U.S.-Mexico border is safer.
So Arpaio has announced the launch of one of the largest crime suppression sweeps in Arizona’s history, “Operation Desert Sky,” targeting drug-smugglers using desert corridors in his county.
The sweep will include the use of 30 aircraft patrolling for at least 30 days, armed posse members, drug-sniffing dogs, and SWAT teams equipped with M-16s.
“I don’t go along with the theory that the border is more secure than ever before,” said Arpaio, whose Maricopa County includes the Phoenix area, refuting claims by federal officials that crime along the Mexican border has dropped.
His assertion is backed by the nonprofit Center for Immigration Studies’ Mark Krikorian who told Newsmax that Napolitano’s statements are “political spin,” and her defense of administration policies along the border is becoming “something of a laughing stock.”
Under Arpaio’s plan, airborne spotters will report suspicious activity to deputies on the ground.
“Given the level of danger posed by the smugglers, deputies and qualified armed posse volunteers including the SWAT team will be equipped to respond on the ground with M-16s and other firearms including the Sheriff’s 50-caliber machine gun,” Arpaio, who has been called “America’s toughest sheriff,” said in a statement.
The operation follows the recent arrests of 207 illegal immigrants in the county and the seizure of some 36,000 pounds of marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamines in the past year.