Border Patrol: Two Americans Threatened with Civil Rights Lawsuit for Stopping Illegals : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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Border Patrol: Two Americans Threatened with Civil Rights Lawsuit for Stopping Illegals J.J. Johnson 09.26.01 A Sierra Times Exclusive

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Whetstone AZ - In a time of heightened tensions and security around the nation, two Cochise County men may soon have to pay a price for what many would consider a civic duty. Apparently stopping an illegal encroachment across a national border can get you in a lot of trouble.

On Sunday, September 23, John Petrello and his neighbor Phil Mathews saw something on Petrello's 5-acre parcel along the U.S/Mexican border, about 12 miles south of Sierra Vista. "We saw the 'coyotes' just drop about 26 Mexican nationals off in two groups, and then leave", said Petrello.

"Coyotes" is a term given to drivers who transport illegals across the border, and to their prescribed destinations in the U.S. Being on alert as many Americans are at the southern border are, they took action.

At about 8:30 am local time, Petrello detained 14 nationals directly across the road from his property. The illegals ran from his property to other side of road with Petrello and Mathews in pursuit. Then the two ordered the illegals to get on the ground which they did.

No shots were fired.

"Once they saw the gun, and heard us, they stopped. They gave us no problem and didn't try to escape", said Petrello. This is nothing new to the American border dwellers. He has been doing this for over a year - always working with the Border Patrol.

John has held illegal aliens on his own property and taken them to Border Patrol in the past. "I was in one shoot-out involving shots fired. on about 12 illegals; all men, all backpacked and advancing on me after shouting to stop." The men were on his property and running towards him, his wife and daughter. The Border Patrol gave him no problem. "They patrol our street frequently". Said Petrello. He said the neighbors help was even solicited in the past.

Then, a second car of illegals pulled up. Mathews moved to detain this group, leaving John with the first group. A total of 26 illegals were held for The United States Border Patrol. The call was made by Petrello's wife.

Like in previous times, the U.S. Border Patrol gave him no problem over his actions. All the detainees were captured on U.S. Soil "They [Petrello and Matthews] were free to leave. There was no violation of the law", according to the Border Patrol.

Tell that to the Mexicans.

At about 2:30 PM the same day , a sheriff's deputy drove out from Sierra Vista and told John Petrello that may have violated the illegal aliens civil rights. This was due to a civil rights lawsuit that has been filed by those Mexican Nationals with help from the Mexican Consulate nearby - against John Petrello and Phil Matthews.

As expected, John Petrello went ballistic.

He did state that both the Border Patrol and Sheriff Deputy were very polite about the whole affair, but he wonders what's going on with American border security. "Apparently the illegal aliens have more rights than American Citizens. Why are not our civil rights being protected?" he asked.

Petrello said he did learn from both the Border Patrol and the Chocise County Sheriff's office that last week, at least 10 foreign nationals were apprehended in the same area last week. They were described as of Middle-Eastern origin.

A public report on last Sunday's event is due out later this week.

-- K (, September 26, 2001

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