Feathered Bastard

MCSO's Final Tally for the Two-Day West Valley Anti-Immigrant Sweep

MCSO spokesman Aaron Douglas, mugging for the camera during this weekend's operation. Is he SGM? 

According to the latest numbers released by the MCSO, there were a total of 52 suspects taken into custody during Sheriff Joe Arpaio's entire two day anti-immigrant sweep in the West Valley. Of these 52, 14 were classified as 287(g) arrests, meaning they are suspected of being in the country sans proper documents.

Out of the 14 287(g) collars, 10 were booked on state charges, with the other four being turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for processing. ICE spokesman Vinnie Picard confirmed the 287(g) figures for the weekend.

Around 8 p.m. Friday the MCSO had reported that Arpaio's boys in beige had collared 8 total, four suspected of being illegal. Those numbers changed by the end of the patrol Friday. On that day, MCSO popped a total of 20 persons, of whom eight were suspected illegals. On Saturday, the MCSO arrested 32, with six of them being 287(g) collars.

In case you don't know, 287(g) refers to the federal program wherein local law enforcement officials are cross-trained by ICE to enforce immigration law. Sheriff Arpaio has some 160  deputies cross-trained as ICE agents, the largest such force in the country.

As reported previously, the two-day raid featured some deputies in ski-masks, with body armor and assault rifles, even though they were pulling drivers over for traffic violations. There were some 200 deputies and posse members involved, using an entire fleet of marked and unmarked cars. 

One of the women arrested on a misdemeanor warrant was Ciria Lopez-Pacheco. She was placed in handcuffs by a ski-masked deputy, as her children watched, crying. You can see an interview with the children by immigrant rights activist Sal Reza, here.

To put things in perspective, the Phoenix PD responded to a call in July 2008 which led to a drophouse with around 50 persons inside. They were all turned over to ICE. Such numbers are not uncommon for drop house raids. So, even if you're raving, nutbar nativist, you have to admit what the sheriff is doing in these sweeps is grandstanding, and a complete waste of county resources.

On another note,someone sent me the photo above of MCSO spokesman Aaron Douglas flashing backwards peace signs at the Friday press conference. (Not sure if the photog wants to be identified, and no it's not Dennis Gilman this time.) This appears to be an example of what The Dirty's Nik Richie (a.k.a., Hooman Karamian, a.k.a, Corbin Grimes) calls the "Scissor Gang Mafia," so don't take it too seriously. It's just an amusing photo.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons