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Are American Vigilantes Hunting Down and Murdering Immigrants as They Cross the Arizona Border?

"A lot of angry, militant white men on the border sitting like hunters," a former detective warns, as the number of unsolved murders piles up.

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While still with NSM, Ready also recruited Jeffrey Harbin, son of a well-known local neo-Nazi. In January 2011, the younger Harbin was arrested with three homemade bombs that he was apparently transporting for use against immigrants on the border. Twelve more devices were found in Harbin’s home. Ready said he didn’t know what the bombs were for, “but I will say that domestic terrorism is real.”

Twice during 2011 — on Feb. 26 and July 17 — Border Patrol agents found Ready and others detaining immigrants in the desert, according to documents. Ready had flex-cuffed an immigrant in the first incident and pointed guns at a group in the second, both likely criminal acts of false imprisonment. Agents reported the incidents to the U.S. Attorney’s office, but no action was taken.

Ready was growing increasingly paranoid. This April 29, he E-mailed friends about his fears: “I sleep with a Loaded shotgun under my bed and a 9 mm on the nightstand. I have 2 Ar-15’s, other hardware, and a trained German Shepherd in the backyard. Mossad or ZOG [a neo-Nazi acronym for Zionist Occupied Government] or the Cartel or some ANTIFA [antifascist] freak may make a move on me.

“Hopefully I can give them their just desserts first.”

Three days later, J.T. Ready murdered his girlfriend and her family and then committed suicide. Arriving at the bloody scene, police found, among other things, six 40 mm anti-tank grenades.

Hints of Violence

The suspicion of vigilante violence in Arizona does not rest only on the exploits of J.T. Ready, or even the six murders near Eloy. Over the years, a number of cases have cropped up that hint at possible campaigns of killing.

In 2005, during the first major muster of the anti-immigrant Minuteman Project, the Intelligence Report interviewed two men who described themselves as members of the neo-Nazi National Alliance (see related story, p. 12). Identifying themselves only as Johnny and Michael, the two said they were part of a six-man team who had joined the muster, in part, to scout future sniping positions.

“You get up there with a rifle and start shooting four or five of them a week,” said Michael, outfitted with body armor and a semi-automatic pistol, “the other four or five thousand behind them are going to think twice about crossing that line.”

In 2009, a Border Patrol agent found a live pipe bomb on a smuggling route near Tucson that was described as “moderately complex,” according to a classified memo released by a group that hacked the Pima County Sheriff’s Office.

Another hacked memo, this one from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, revealed that a militant group called “A Concerned Citizen” was trying to shut down a stretch of interstate to stop smugglers in 2010. The memo warned of the “potential for human rights violations and a possibility of violence.”

Other documents also revealed episodes of apparent extremism that were previously unknown to the public. In March 2011, for example, Border Patrol agents encountered a heavily armed man in the desert south of Tucson. The man, identified as Tim Foley, told the agents he had military experience as a sniper and that he planned to conduct “mercenary type operations” along the border. He also allegedy told them he had deployed an improvised explosive device in the desert.

The deadly rage of many nativists who came to Arizona in recent years was highlighted in the person of Shawna Forde, founder of the vigilante group Minuteman American Defense. Forde, along with two confederates, is on death row for the 2009 murder of a Latino man and his 9-year-old daughter. The pair were shot in their own Arivaca, Ariz., home, not while trying to cross any border. They were U.S. citizens who Forde intended to rob in order to fund her nativist activities.

 
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