The latest round of photographs from neo-Nazi J.T. Ready's patrols in the Arizona desert shows the Mesa storm trooper getting chummy with the U.S. Border Patrol, even leaning on a Border Patrol vehicle at one point.
There's a photo of Ready with a Border Patrol Agent on a motorcycle, and there's a pic of an agent taking a man into custody with Ready nearby.
Captions for the photos claim Ready's group U.S. Border Guard "intercepted" some dope in the desert, and there's a photo of what looks like bundles of drugs.
These new photos were posted July 26, just a few days after the Arizona Highway Patrol Association issued a press release warning vigilante groups to "stay out of the desert."
Spokeswoman Stacey Dillon said that Ready's was one of the groups AHPA, which represents Arizona Department of Public Safety officers, was addressing.
The release did not mention J.T. Ready by name or reference neo-Nazis. But it did include a photo from Ready's first public desert patrol in the Vekol Valley, showing gear emblazoned with the word "police" on it.
"These desert vigilantes are armed, and in some cases, attempting to portray themselves as law enforcement," reads the statement.
"Officers will arrest these individuals if there is evidence of impersonation of a police officer or related crimes, like hate crimes," Sgt. Jimmy Chavez, AHPA president, said in the release. "Police associations, like AHPA, want these individuals prosecuted to the highest degree of the law."
The statement points out that, "According to Arizona Revised Statutes, impersonating an officer is a felony and could result in jail time."
Via text message, Ready told me that the "police" gear "belongs to a cop friend of mine."
He added, "I'm not that stupid anyway."
In another text, he said of Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, "I let Sheriff Baboon play cop on TV for me instead. Safer that way."
In our back and forth, I wondered about Ready's recent statements to Phoenix journalist Terry Greene Sterling to the effect that he was leaving the National Socialist Movement, the most prominent neo-Nazi organization in America.
He replied that he'd been a member for less than a year, and that he was now going to "focus on the border and my personal life."
Ready has appeared at NSM rallies on numerous occasions, beginning back in 2007. Only in the past year has he publicly claimed NSM membership.
As to his comments to Sterling that he now regards illegal aliens as "economic refugees," he had this to say:
"Steve, you are too intelligent an atheist to print everything conjured up by NT staff job or no staff job. Connect the dots."
Sterling was once an investigative journalist with New Times. I don't believe she "conjured" anything.
In another text, he called illegal immigrants, "Political refugees. From cartel capitalism."
In the captions to his Flickr photos, he offers a harsher opinion:
"Illegal aliens are responsible for the trashing of our wildlife refuge and park areas. National monuments are destroyed by them. Hundreds of millions of dollars of ranch land and animals are destroyed by their invasion. Wildlife and livestock eating the rubbish and drugs left behind in the wake of the illegal aliens die a terrible and agonizing death."
I personally have no illusions about Ready, a man who has called Adolf Hitler "a great white civil rights leader." He was a neo-Nazi before his NSM membership, and without it, his spots remain unchanged.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.