Drug Cartel Observation Posts In Arizona Caves

KPHO TV 5 Phoenix televised a disturbing three part story on caves that are used by human smugglers and by drug cartels. The two part story that includes written reports, videos, and a slideshow. The stories take place in a location not far from the other two KPHO stories about the Krentz family.

Part 1: Resident: Illegal Immigrants Caught On Camera, Night Pictures Show People At Watering Trough, Cara Liu, CBS 5 News, September 17, 2010

Pat and Pennee Murphree live near the Sawtooth Mountains in Pinal County near the border with Mexico. From their home, they can use a spotting scope to see what deputies refer to as a “cartel cave.”

Part 2: Sheriff: Drug Spotters Living In Ariz. Caves, Deputies Find Illegal Immigrant In Sawtooth Mountain Cave, September 16, 2010

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said deputies recently found communications equipment, a supply of food and binoculars in a cave near Sawtooth Mountain in Silverbell.

The cave overlooks homes and ranches, and residents are worried. You can bet Henderson`s warning will be ignored:

Last week, another Silverbell resident, Nancy Henderson, reported rifles, food, batteries, night vision equipment, binoculars and clothing had been stolen from her home while she was away.

Residents on Monday attended a press conference saying they are afraid to leave their homes because spotters watch their every move.

“This is happening in my backyard,” said Henderson, “and I strongly believe if something isn`t done to stop these people it`s going to be in all of your backyards before long.”

Part 3: CBS 5 Looks Inside The Smuggling Caves, September 22, 2010

The CBS 5 Investigative Team set out to find the caves that law enforcement officials said illegal immigrants were living in south of Phoenix.

The network of caves and bunkers are said to be scattered near the top of Wildcat Peak in the Sawtooth Mountains, just south of Phoenix.

The remote peak offers a view for miles – making it an ideal lookout for spotters with the drug cartel and an extremely difficult place to reach, according to the Pinal County Sheriff`s Office.

Investigative reporters Tammy Leitner and Morgan Loew set out on the trek with only camera equipment and enough supplies to last a day.

They set out to find the caves for themselves, but found much more than a network of empty caves used by drug smugglers.