We've done a few pretty intense stories on Pinal County sheriff's deputy Louie Puroll and his troubled (and troubling) account of getting shot in the desert south of Phoenix last April 30.
That piece revisited the April 30 shooting incident in the Vekol Valley off Interstate 10 between Gila Bend and Casa Grande, an alleged late-afternoon clash that became international news in light of the ongoing debate over what to do about illegal immigration.
But what got Deputy Puroll in hot water with the Pinal County Sheriff's Office was the 14-year agency veteran's comments about two matters:
* His supposed multiple interactions with members of Mexican drug cartels during which the bad guys allegedly attempted to bribe him.
* The alleged statements of a rancher friend of Puroll's who offered to kill me (the guy who wrote "Pinalchhio") if the deputy so wished.
I tape-recorded the stuff about the cartels -- which Deputy Puroll apparently had failed to report to anyone in authority -- on a recorder that sat on a table at the truck stop that was the site of one of our meetings.
Actually, the material about the cartels emerged by accident, with me asking Puroll if anyone had been approaching him about doing public speaking about the terrible things that human smugglers sometimes do to undocumented immigrants at their mercy.
The deputy misunderstood me, and apparently thought I was asking him about being approached by, in his words, "the cartels."
It went from there.
The "death threat" comments came immediately after I shut down the recorder at what I thought was the end of our session that day (October 25).
A few days before publication of "Whitewash," I called Deputy Puroll to let him know that I was planning on including the death-threat information in my piece.
I recorded that phone call, in which the deputy corroborated his earlier statements about his alleged rancher buddy. In no way did Puroll give the slightest indication that he had been lying to me or had been anything less than dead-serious when we were talking.
I don't know what Sheriff Babeu's agency is going to do with Louie Puroll. That's up to them.
But here are two relevant excerpts from my interviews of the deputy, the
first (and only) discussion of his alleged communications with cartel members
second the aforementioned call I made to Puroll before publication of "Whitewash."