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USBP liaisons gave update on agent activities at WPCCC

Ajo Copper News of Ajo, Arizona

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US Border Patrol agents Aaron Salas, who has served as a tribal liaison for four years, and Roman Rubio, who is just getting started as the new liaison for Ajo, gave a presentation at the recent meeting of the Western Pima County Community Council. Rubio noted that he is replacing Vicente Paco, who has transferred to USBP Tucson Sector in public relations.

A multi-agency citizens' academy is being organized to begin November 5. It will meet every Thursday evening for six weeks and conclude December 17. Along with USBP, participating agencies include Pima County Sheriff's Department, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, and Barry M. Goldwater Gunnery Range. Ads and flyers will appear soon, the two said. They commented it would be a great setting to see how well the numerous law enforcement agencies work ogether, as well as seeing new technologies the agencies use.

Local USBP agents will be involved in Ajo's International Day of Peace on September 21 and in the Red & White weekend October 24. Rubio said these and other community events are a good way for agents to meet people and show support for local communities.

Responding to audience questions, Salas and Rubio said former Ajo liaison Paco is now working as a liaison at the sector level and is appearing on the Telemundo television channel from time to time.

Salas told the audience it is important to call the local USBP station to report suspicious incidents that may involve smuggling. "What you see, we can work on," he said. He added that citizens should never try to apprehend anyone themselves.

WPCCC councilor Tina West asked how many agents are currently assigned to the Ajo Station, and of those, how many are in special units, such as horse patrol. Salas and Rubio said the numbers change regularly, but the total number of agents averages 400 to 450, and the number assigned to the horse patrol unit is roughly 30, with 26 horses. They noted that horse units are being used more to patrol designated wilderness areas where vehicles have restrictions, and more on the Tohono O'odham Nation.

The Ajo Station area of responsibility was described by the liaisons as 59 miles of linear border stretching from Federal Route 21 on the Tohono O'odham Nation to the Yuma County Line, and stretching north to at least the highway checkpoint north of Ajo.

Councilor Arlene Dreste said it was her understanding that agents from the Casa Grande Station were now covering additional sections of the Tohono O'odham Nation, such as the FR21 area and the villages of Pisinemo and San Simon. Salas agreed, noting that agents from other stations can be temporarily assigned to additional areas due to operational demands. He said, "It could change back again tomorrow or next year, depending on the traffic."

Rubio and Salas said they look forward to working with the Ajo community and its neighbors.



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Original Publication Date: September 22, 2015



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