With bombs away, drug traffickers and illegal immigrants make their play

Crossings are easy on land banned to federal patrol

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“I have seen groups of illegal aliens as large as 19 moving through the area. Drug load and resupply vehicles pass through the East Tactical Range [heading north and south] day and night,” the source said.

The Border Patrol has set up a highway checkpoint along state Route 85, just west of the corridor, but drug and alien smugglers use trails in nearby Black Gap and Lookout Mountain to evade the checkpoint. After working their way through the Gap, the smugglers generally turn northeast across the Goldwater Range heading toward Interstate 8.

Area residents have said an abandoned railroad line — the Tucson Cornelia and Gila Bend Railroad — lies just east of state Route 85 and smugglers use the elevated berm to conceal their movement from the Border Patrol and highway traffic.

“Many groups are transported from Ajo by the sympathetic citizens of that town to drop-off points south of the BP Checkpoint where they unload and cross over the railroad tracks,” the source said.

All of the smuggling trails east of Ajo and state Route 85 pass through the Goldwater Range, and eventually connect with Interstate 8, east of Gila Bend — where connections are made to transport the drugs and illegal immigrants throughout the United States.

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