Arizona Sheriffs Support Senate Candidate Mark Lamb, Spurn Kari Lake

Arizona Sheriffs Support Senate Candidate Mark Lamb, Spurn Kari Lake

By Staff Reporter |

A majority of Arizona sheriffs have chosen to side with their fellow Sheriff Mark Lamb in the Senate race over Trump-endorsed Kari Lake, due to the implications of her recently calling Lamb a “coward” for not helping overturn the 2022 election.

Lake shifted some of the blame for her gubernatorial loss onto Lamb during an online forum last month with the Arizona chapter of the Association of Mature American Citizens. In a press release from Lamb’s campaign, the sheriffs of nine counties signed onto a letter condemning Lake’s attack.

“Kari Lake’s recent comment calling Sheriff Mark Lamb a ‘coward’ is both unfounded and disrespectful,” said the statement. “We want to make it clear: neither Sheriff Mark Lamb nor any law enforcement officer who wears a badge and uniform, putting their life on the line every day to protect and serve our communities, is a coward. Arizona voters expect better from a political candidate, especially when they are running for the U.S. Senate.”

Sheriffs Adam Shepard, Gila; David Clouse, Navajo; David Rhodes, Yavapai; Doug Schuster, Mohave; Leon Wilmot, Yuma; Mark Dannels, Cochise; PJ Allred, Graham; Russ Skinner, Maricopa; and William Ponce, La Paz signed onto the letter. Sheriff candidates Jerry Sheridan, Maricopa; Mike Crawford, Maricopa; and Ross Teeple, Pinal also signed onto the letter.

The panel in which Lake criticized Lamb wasn’t designed as a debate, but in some respects it became one. Lake accused Lamb of cowardice for not using law enforcement authority to facilitate change in the 2022 election’s outcome.

“I took every hit fighting for security in our elections. Sheriffs had the ability to fight, and the sheriff in Pinal County cowered, and he’s a total coward when it comes to election integrity,” said Lake.

Lamb responded with accusations that Lake’s assessment about his involvement in scrutinizing the 2022 election wasn’t entirely truthful. Lamb said that Pinal County fired those responsible for underprinting ballots, as well as established cameras and citizen monitors for drop boxes.

“Yes, we didn’t print enough ballots [in 2022] in Pinal County, and guess who didn’t complain about it because she won the primary? Kari didn’t. It didn’t matter to her until the general election,” said Lamb. “I live in a world of evidence, what you can prove in court beyond a reasonable doubt. […] Any one of these people, including Kari, could’ve brought me the evidence that was actionable for me in court to do something about it.”

Outside of the scuffle in the panel, Lake has aimed her attacks on Democratic opponent Ruben Gallego. 

Lake criticized Gallego for not debating, though she has refused to debate Lamb. The GOP debate for Senate candidates is scheduled for June 26, about a week before early voting, and Lamb will be there. 

Should Lake not show up for the debate, the Citizens Clean Elections Commission will pivot to host a 30-minute Q&A with Lamb rather than a 60-minute debate. 

AZ Free News is your #1 source for Arizona news and politics. You can send us news tips using this link.

House Republicans Visit Border Ahead Of Final Consideration For ‘Secure The Border Act’

House Republicans Visit Border Ahead Of Final Consideration For ‘Secure The Border Act’

By Staff Reporter |

With House Speaker Ben Toma, a congressional candidate, leading the expedition, House Republicans visited the border to assess the crisis for which they say Democrat leaders are to blame. 

Toma questioned why, three years into an ever-worsening problem, President Joe Biden and even Governor Katie Hobbs had focused their efforts on derailing solutions. According to Toma and the other Republicans, his bill, HCR 2060, is one of those latest solutions opposed by the likes of Hobbs and Biden. 

“Arizonans need to ask Democrats like President Joe Biden and Governor Katie Hobbs why they are fighting to keep America’s border wide open,” said Toma. “It’s unsafe, it’s unsecure, it’s un-American, and it’s indefensible.”

The Senate passed HCR 2060 last month; it now needs final House consideration before it can appear on the ballot. The bill would make it statutorily unlawful for all border crossings outside lawful ports of entry. Law enforcement would only have probable cause for arrest of an illegal immigrant should a law enforcement officer witness the illegal crossing, technology records the illegal crossing, or any such other constitutionally sufficient indicator of probable cause exist. 

The bill would mean more power to the state to handle its borders. Currently, the courts only recognize the federal government as having the authority to detain illegal immigrants.

Governor Hobbs called the bill a “stunt” for “cheap political points,” a job killer that would “demonize” communities and make the job of law enforcement more difficult. 

The statute would only apply proactively, not retroactively. The nearly 7.9 million illegal immigrants encountered along the southern border since Biden took office (not counting the “gotaways,” or the witnessed but not encountered) would be safe from arrest under the law. 

The statute would also define unlawful presence in the country as applying to those who were paroled pursuant to a programmatic grant of parole, such as those created under notice-and-comment rulemaking, and those who were required to be detained under the federal Immigration and Nationality Act but were instead paroled into the country. 

Those guilty of illegal entry would earn a class one misdemeanor, elevated to a class six felony should that illegal immigrant have been previously convicted of illegal entry. 

Rather than convict or adjudicate an illegal immigrant for illegal entry, HCR 2060 would allow a court to dismiss the charge and instead issue an order to the immigrant to return to the foreign nation from which they entered or attempted to enter the U.S., or the immigrant’s nation of origin. This would only be an option for the court should the illegal immigrant agree to the order, have no prior convictions of illegal entry, have no prior charges of another class one misdemeanor or felony, and have no criminal database hits indicating that they’re a threat to national security. 

If the illegal immigrant refuses to comply with their order to return to a foreign nation, they are guilty of a class four felony. 

HCR 2060 also branches out into other threats posed by the open border: fentanyl sales. The statute would establish a new crime: “sale of lethal fentanyl,” applying to adults who knowingly transport a narcotic drug for sale containing fentanyl that causes the death of another. The penalty for lethal fentanyl sale would be a class two felony, with all sentencing increased by five years. A presumptive sentence would be 10 years instead of five, a minimum sentence would be nine years instead of four, and a maximum sentence would be 15 years instead of 10. 

Even if the Arizona legislature passes HCR 2060 and voters approve it as well, the statute pertaining to illegal immigration wouldn’t go into effect until similar laws — namely that which was passed last year by Texas (SB 4) — have gone into effect for at least 60 days. 

The bill is scheduled to go before the House Caucus on Tuesday.

AZ Free News is your #1 source for Arizona news and politics. You can send us news tips using this link.

Former Trump Border Chief Visits Border In Yuma

Former Trump Border Chief Visits Border In Yuma

By Daniel Stefanski |

A high-profile visitor recently made the trek to the southern border in Yuma, Arizona.

Earlier this month, former Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) Chad Wolf made a trip to Yuma, Arizona, to check on the status of the southern border under the Biden administration. Wolf served as one of the DHS Secretaries in the Trump administration.

Wolf first visited a local food bank. He noted that “the situation here is getting worse not better, [that] 116 different nationalities [require] numerous food / dietary challenges, [and that] the surge in illegal aliens is severely impacting the food bank’s ability to provide for the people of Yuma.”

He added that a “major concern here is the Biden administration’s push to eliminate the requirement to have an ID or be a resident in order to receive food benefits.”

The former Trump cabinet official stopped by the wall at the international boundary, which was a staple of the previous administration in border states.

When Wolf was at the border, he spotted travel documents from illegal aliens who had recently crossed. One of the papers he located was a boarding pass from an alien who traveled to Cancun two days prior and crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in Yuma on that day. Wolf stated that the “cartel facilitated.”

He also highlighted a group of illegal immigrants who crossed the border at 2:30am the next morning, taking pictures of some of the approximately 60 individuals who were now being processed by the Border Patrol. Wolf asserted that there were “seven different nationalities represented – including Syrians and Chinese.”

The final post from Wolf focused on the construction of the border wall under both the Trump and Biden administrations. Wolf focused on the “remaining steel bollards lying on the ground and unused.” He opined that “the Biden team redesigned new fencing to plug gaps and to say they didn’t build ‘Trump’s’ wall instead of using this infrastructure,” adding that this was a “waste of taxpayer dollars.”

This week, Wolf shared a recap video from Polaris National Security to share highlights and information about his trip to the border.

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

Yuma Man Found Guilty Of Smuggling Fentanyl Pills

Yuma Man Found Guilty Of Smuggling Fentanyl Pills

By Daniel Stefanski |

The U.S. government obtained a guilty plea in its prosecution over a case of fentanyl possession across the southern border.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona announced that Nathan Hernandez, a 20-year-old from Yuma, had “pleaded guilty to Possession with Intent to Distribute Fentanyl.” The Office revealed that Hernandez would be sentenced before U.S. District Judge Michael T. Liburdi, who was appointed by President Donald J. Trump, on March 25, 2024. This conviction, per the government’s information, “carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000.”

According to the press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, “Hernandez admitted that on November 3, 2023, he entered the United States through the San Luis Port of Entry in San Luis, Arizona, with 115.04 pounds of fentanyl pills hidden in a non-factory compartment of his 2020 Dodge Ram.” The young man also confessed that “he possessed the fentanyl with the intent to deliver it to another person.”

Data from the U.S. Sentencing Commission in 2021 showed that 86.3 percent of fentanyl drug trafficking convictions were U.S. citizens, while 8.9 percent of convictions were illegal immigrants and 4.3% for legal non-citizens. The vast majority of fentanyl seizures occur at ports of entry or vehicle check points – 91 percent. However, with the overwhelming number of ‘gotaways’ and the strategic abilities of cartels and smugglers to evade detection with their loads, the amount of illicit drugs escaping detection wouldn’t likely be known to government officials.

In 2022, The Washington Post published an article about the proliferation of fentanyl from Mexico to the United States, citing estimations from unnamed federal drug agents that “they are seizing 5 to 10 percent of the drugs coming from Mexico – if that much.” The article also stated that “agents say it has been nearly impossible to stop fentanyl trafficking” at the border.

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

Voters Should Think Twice Before Approving Billions In Unwise And Unnecessary K-12 Bonds

Voters Should Think Twice Before Approving Billions In Unwise And Unnecessary K-12 Bonds

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

K-12 schools in Arizona are currently flush with cash. Between billions in increased state spending from the legislature, COVID cash from the feds, and declining student populations, district school spending is at an all time high. But next week, voters across Arizona will decide the fate of 23 bond requests from schools that total a historic $3.5 billion.

This level of borrowing being sought by local school districts is both unwise and unnecessary, especially given the large amounts of money that have been pumped into the system. State funding has increased so quickly in the last 36 months that the legislature decided to override the constitutional spending limit the last two fiscal years. This is funding over and above the formulaic cap in the constitution that exists to protect taxpayers from runaway and unaccountable spending.

And contrary to what you probably hear from teachers’ unions and their sycophant friends in the media, lawmakers continue to increase school spending with every state budget. With all this new spending, district schools receive more money per student than ever before, and it’s not even close.

Not included in the state spending cap, however, are federal funds. And when schools were shut down during COVID, the federal government poured trillions of dollars into them. Many of the school districts asking their taxpayers to hand over hundreds of millions of dollars in bonds next week are still sitting on a pile of unspent COVID cash…