TUCSON – Cartel members and some of their families crossed into Douglas and Naco, Arizona this past week asking for asylum. They stated their reason for asylum, “credible threat.”
This comes after officials said 12 cartel members had been shot and killed as a result of an internal problem within the Sinaloa Cartel.
Nine were killed a week ago in Agua Prieta, Sonora, and Naco, Sonora. Two more were murdered in Agua Prieta last Friday.
Officials told News 4 Tucson two women died in the shootout.
Three other people were injured and transported into the United States including a 12-year-old boy. He was airlifted to Tucson. Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels said he was told the boy was caught in the crossfire and doing okay.
Sheriff Dannels told News 4 Tucson, never in his three decades of law enforcement had he heard of cartel members asking for asylum. He added this is “alarming”.
News 4 Tucson caught up with him while he was attended a scheduled National Sheriff’s Association Border Security meeting.
He said they discussed the violence that had occurred and also the cartel members seeking asylum.
Senior members of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice also attended the meeting.
Sheriff Dannels said, “We’re watching it very closely for all the right reasons because now they [cartel members] are coming into the United States, and into our community.”
He added DHS assured him the cartel members seeking asylum were locked up and won’t be released into the community.
Sheriff Dannels said he spoke to the governor’s staff about this as well.
The weekend was relatively quiet following Friday’s shoot out, but he said the wave of violence isn’t over. “Usually there’s revenge from those who’ve been attacked, so we want to be prepared.”
That’s why he said they are sharing valuable information with their local, state, and federal partners so they can all work together to protect the public and keep the violence from spilling over.