Sheriff details how life changed in Yuma County Arizona in two short years

by WorldTribune Staff, February 27, 2023

Just over two years ago, Yuma County was one of the safest counties on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Prior to Jan. 20, 2021, the Yuma border sector was seeing about 40 illegal immigrants attempting to cross each day.

Migrants walk through a gap in the border wall into the United States from Mexico in Yuma, Arizona. / John Moore / Getty Images

Enter Team Biden and its open border policies and, two years later, that number is more than 1,000 per day, Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot said.

Drug cartels are charging, depending on country of origin, between $6,000 to $15,000 to smuggle illegals into the U.S., Wilmot said, adding that the cartels use social media to recruit juveniles to smuggle drugs into the U.S.

“Children are also the pawns in the cartel’s money-making schemes. Roughly 400 to 800 juveniles cross our border every day to go to school in Yuma County. The cartels use them to body conceal and carry narcotics across and tell them that the federal government will not charge a juvenile for smuggling so you don’t have to worry about being arrested,” Wilmot told a Feb. 23 House Judiciary Committee field hearing titled “The Biden Border Crisis – Part II.”

Crimes committed in the Yuma sector include sexual exploitation of minors, narcotics offenses, assaults, kidnapping, burglary and theft cases. In one case, Wilmot said his office is handling murder charges against a smuggler who killed the individual he was attempting to bring into the U.S. illegally.

Wilmot described the area along the Colorado River as an “environmental disaster” due to the trash, pharmaceuticals, and biological waste “left by those crossing the border illegally.”

Yuma County Supervisor Jonathan Lines said at the Feb. 23 hearing that “every community in the United States is now a border community due to an abject failure by this administration to control and stem the tide of illegal entry along the southwest border and to commit to take back control of the border from the cartels.”

Lines said cartels are marketing opioids to minors through social media outlets.

“These stories are tragic when parents talk about the loss of life of their sons and daughters due to fentanyl and opioids,” he said.

In Fiscal Year 2022, 12,000 pounds of fentanyl were seized at the Arizona border alone.

Lines called on Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to follow through on a previous commitment to close gaps in the Yuma border barrier. Lines said Mayorkas pledged to do so during his visit to the border last year.

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