Cartel Violence Continues To Affect Southern Arizona Communities

January 19, 2024

By Daniel Stefanski |

Last week, Ali Bradley, a National Correspondent for NewsNation, revealed news that the Lukeville Port of Entry had shut down for a brief time. Bradley attributed the closure to “violence in Mexico” due to “fighting/gun battles within the cartel,” per her sources.

Bradley stated that “the Sinaloa cartel runs operations on the other side of the border, (and) a Mexican National Guard soldier was killed in a gun battle at the end of last month.”

Art Del Cueto, the Vice President of the National Border Patrol Council, has also raised awareness of increasing cartel violence on the Mexican side of the border. At the end of 2023, he thanked “Mexican media reporting on the mass cartel war that has erupted just south of our borders.” He added, “12 cars destroyed, 20 deaths. 5 cars that were bulletproof. This is the intel agents and the people near the border need to be receiving. Unfortunately, many individuals involved in the cartels can freely come into the US and ask for asylum.”

Del Cueto posted two additional updates in recent days. On one, he broadcasted audio of a gun fight in Sonoyta Sonora, saying, “It ain’t no joke down there. The war continues…It’s not about the human smuggling the problem is much bigger than that.”

Then, Del Cueto shared another video of “more heavy gun fighting as a battle ensued in the town of Magdalena De Kino just south of Nogales.” The veteran border patrol agent asserted this cartel violence had become “a daily occurrence throughout different parts near the U.S.-Mexico border.”

The temporary shutdown of this port of entry comes after Lukeville experienced a much lengthier closure, which started December 4, 2023, and ended January 4. In announcing the reopening of the port, U.S. Customs and Border Protection promised “to continue to prioritize our border security mission as necessary in response to this evolving situation…(by) assess(ing) security situations.”

Despite the Biden Administration moving to reopen the Lukeville Port of Entry, some Republicans still wanted to address the root of the crisis. Arizona State Senator T.J. Shope was one of those officials, as he called the initial action to close the vital border crossing “irresponsible and reckless.” Shope also said, “Not only did this create financial turmoil for border communities within Arizona who rely on the tourism traffic to and from Rocky Point to support their families, but the closure of the Lukeville Port of Entry also put unnecessary stress and strain on our citizens and commerce who depend on a safe and direct route to this popular destination.”

Over the past year, legislative Republicans have effectively made the point that the reality for Arizonans could be more daunting if not for their check on the Democrats in the state – especially Governor Katie Hobbs. When Hobbs signed the state budget compromise in May, Senate President Warren Petersen highlighted that his members “prevented the Governor and Democrat Legislators from advancing their extremist agenda…we’re not getting rid of state funded border security resources to keep our communities safe.” Republicans are expected to continue to introduce bills and policies in this current legislative session that would give the Grand Canyon State more ability and resources to combat the many scourges of the border crisis.

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.

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