Rancher cleared in rights case

The ranch sits 50 miles east of Douglas in what Cochise County, Ariz., law enforcement authorities call “the avenue of choice” for illegal immigration.

Mr. Barnett said intruders on his ranch tore up water pumps, killed calves, destroyed fences and gates, stole trucks and broke into his home. Some of his cattle died from ingesting the plastic bottles left behind by the immigrants, he said, adding that he installed a faucet on an 8,000-gallon water tank so the immigrants would stop damaging the tank to get water.

A former Cochise County sheriff’s deputy who later became successful in the towing and propane business, Mr. Barnett said he carried a pistol during his searches for the immigrants and a rifle in his truck “for protection” against immigrant and drug smugglers. He said he has rounded up as many as 86 illegal immigrants in one night. He said he turns over those he apprehends to the Border Patrol.

His sprawling ranch became an illegal-immigration highway when the Border Patrol - backed by an infusion of manpower, equipment and technology - diverted its attention to several border towns in an effort to take control of the established ports of entry. That effort moved the illegal immigrants to the remote areas of the border, including the Cross Rail Ranch.

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