Arizona towns alarmed by rise in attacks, rumor convoy headed north
Posted: May 18, 2007
7:37 p.m. Eastern
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com
A bloodbath just south of the Mexican border has alarmed neighboring Arizona towns that have nervously monitored a rise in violence in the Mexican state of Sonora the past two months.
Mexican police killed 15 armed assailants in a fierce gun battle Wednesday after tracking a group that killed four policemen, leading to fears this morning that an armed outlaw convoy was headed to the U.S. border.
About 40 assailants apparently related to Mexico's powerful drug gangs, drove in a convoy of up to 15 vehicles into the town of Cananea, 20 miles south of the U.S. border, to seize the policemen Wednesday. Mexican state police confronted the gunmen in the mountains 60 miles south of Cananea and reportedly killed 15 of the gunmen.
Today, meanwhile, rumors spread to Naco, Ariz., that its sister city of Naco, Sonora, was threatened with a possible imminent attack from outlaw gunmen who were headed their way.
The Mexican town reportedly closed schools, businesses and city hall.
Jesus Rodriguez, spokesman for the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector told WND the report turned out to be "bogus." He said border agents have been informed of the attacks in Mexico but have not been under any special orders or heightened alert.
Brian Levin, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, said officers at the Naco, Ariz., port of entry are aware of the situation, but the border is open and operating normally.
There also were reports of a second narco hit squad entering the town of Cuitaca, 10 miles west of Cananea, the Sierra Vista paper said. Local radio stations issued an advisory from city officials to remain at home, according to the Mexican paper El Imparcial.
Officials in the border town of Nogales, Ariz., say they want to see measures taken to ensure the violence does not migrate across the border, NogalesInternational.com reported.
"We are monitoring the situation very closely," Mayor Ignacio J. Barraza said yesterday. "I have asked that the Nogales Police Department prepare a briefing of what has transpired in the last few hours and over the past month."
City officials in Agua Prieta, Mexico – which borders Douglas, Ariz. – were on very high alert, surrounded by police and soldiers, Douglas Mayor Ray Borane told the Herald.
Borane said his officials also were taking a similar cautious attitude.
After news of the Cananea incident, Borane traveled immediately to Agua Prieta for a briefing from Agua Prieta Mayor Antonia Cuadras, who later traveled to Douglas for a meeting at Borane's office.
Borane said he plans to ask for help from the state of Arizona "to provide additional funding for local law enforcement needs."
In Cananea Wednesday, the bullet-riddled bodies of the four policemen were found on the side of a road, along with 50 spent cartridges, hours after they were seized.
A total of five policemen were killed, said Sonora state Gov. Eduardo Bours, but he did not specify how the fifth officer died.
Another incident took place Wednesday in the Sonora state capital Hermosillo, where unidentified assailants tossed a hand grenade from a passing car at the offices of the newspaper Cambio, causing minor damage.