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Border Watch Operations: "Very Sophisticated"
A Report from the Arizona Border
April 26, 2007

By Dave Bertrand

Wednesday April 25th, 2007 was considered the most advanced operations of any MCDC operation to date, according to a few MCDC veterans, and Border Patrol agents participating stated that our operation was "very sophisticated."

The trial run the night before, noted an Illegal Alien (I.A.) count of 50 on the march, but they circumnavigated our position due to unforeseen noises. MCDC communications requested Border Patrol support which arrived within minutes, including a Border Patrol helicopter. The area was swept for about an hour, and agents on the ground followed the foot prints that eventually went-off in three directions. Because of the air operations all around us, we knew the illegal aliens further south would just lay-down for the night.

Last night (Wednesday) we began operations with a different strategy planned that afternoon, a strategy that often changes to keep the Mexican government, and the ACLU confused. The ACLU has often interfered with MCDC operations and U.S. Border Patrol. The ACLU was advised accordingly and has decided to use other methods that seem to be ineffective. The Mexican government gives our positions to drug cartels and coyote's that lead groups of illegals through the harsh desert. An hour before going-out on our particular line, we were briefed by line leaders, radio channels assigned, and Border Patrol briefed. This time, the strategy would prove to be quite effective.

Minuteman (Roger) set-up his "Eye-in-the-Sky" infrared detection camera, while other teams set-up other sensitive detection equipment. Border Patrol would later arrive and take-up positions with us. The sun went-down and most everyone sat quietly, listening on highly sensitive detection devices for some, while others had night and thermal vision.

It was my opinion, that (our post 2), according to our position, would only be the 50 million candle power light (flank) for whatever "Eye-in-the-Sky" would detect, and boy was I wrong!

My partner, (Steve) from Franklin, Tennessee was completely geared-up with NV18 Comm Spec, while I was using the listening device so sensitive, you can actually hear a desert rat eating 50 feet away. And believe me, plenty of them around, including the largest jackrabbits I have ever seen! The top of their ears from the ground are about 3 feet tall. Rattle snakes have been dormant, except for the other day a 4 foot rattle snake was laying in the road near our post.

The chill began to set-in as the sun dropped behind the mountains, and all manned posts had finally settled-in for the evening.

It could not have been more than 30 minutes of darkness when the sound of foot steps began to enter my headset. I had finally deciphered the rabbits and desert rats eating and shuffling across the desert floor, and an occasional foot shuffle by adjacent posts, but what I was hearing were many foot steps heading our direction in a rapid movement.

I got on the local channel and advised everyone, "Here they come...I have several foot steps approaching at a fast pace [break], eye-in the sky, the sound is coming from your southwest position and south/south east from post 2."

Eye-in-the-Sky immediately scanned the area and reported 6 individuals "now lying down" and one I.A. advancing forward. I confirmed the foot steps had stopped, but could not confirm the one advancing.

Then about the same time, the foot steps began to run, and Eye-in-the-Sky began transmitting the count and direction. We now had 20, then 30, then (last heard) 40 running, while all Minutemen posts lit-up the area like a movie set. Two illegal aliens had surrendered, overwhelmed by the intensity of the lights. We offered water and food, and one told me in Spanish that he had cocaine (Coca) in his back pack. I replied, oh really?? Then he began to pull a bottle of Coca Cola from his back pack, and we had a good laugh over that one. Our concern was that he might have weapons, if he was carrying cocaine. An illegal will often carry a 6 x 6 inch plastic sealed bag of cocaine for the drug cartel in lieu of having to pay the $1,500 to $3,000 coyote' fee.

After Border Patrol arrived, one unit took the two I.A.'s away, while other units stayed with us. Moments later more units arrived and went into the bush to track the ever increasing number that flew past our positions.

We had gone dark for no more than 30 minutes when Eye-in-the-Sky began to see 4 individuals moving around, hiding, and watching. In the meanwhile, my partner (Steve) tells me that he sees 3 individuals on night vision coming towards us from the north! I asked if they might be Border Patrol, he wasn't sure but said they were short. As I was calling it in on the radio, other posts closer began to light them up. The I.A.'s had their hands in the air, and one was a teen child. One of the Border Patrol units with us, immediately took them away. We went dark again, and the 4 I.A.'s we were previously watching on infrared were now out of view.

On my listening device, I heard one whistle softly, indicating that he was separated from the others. We now had a new direction on him, and Eye-in-the-Sky picked them up again on his screen. Border Patrol walked over towards our post and my partner with night vision assisted them. Steve and Border Patrol were being directed by our Eye-in-the-Sky to an I.A. that appeared dead. He was laying face down under a tree, in the bushes. However, the I.A. realized it was all over for him, and decided to be un-dead. Eye-in-the-Sky was now directing the team to 2 others. They were apprehended by B.P., and then another I.A. was picked-up on infrared, east of Eye-in-the-Sky. That I.A. was arrested as well by Border Patrol on the spot.

Now...this is where it gets interesting..

One of the four illegal aliens being loaded in the B.P. truck tells the agent that he has been with the Mexican Army Special Forces for about (??) 8 years, and obviously the entire group's "coyote" (a major hit for us and America). The B.P. agent told me that he could tell at first that he was something different, by his attitude, and how he was maneuvering to avoid detection. The agent discovered a cell phone on him, and suspected that he might be receiving intel about the Minutemen positions. We already suspected one nearby mountain as a surveillance point.

By this time, we were reaching a shift change, not only for us, but for Border Patrol as well. "Eye-in-the-Sky" continued to pick-up images. The next MCDC shift was being briefed as we arrived the camp. I am not sure as to what they encountered, but all I know is that the Altar Valley is being over-ran on a daily basis, costing tax payer's enormous money when those that get by our lines succeed to infiltrate communities in mid-America. Hopefully, more community local law enforcement deputies/officers will become 287G certified under Homeland Security's Immigrations, Customs, Enforcement (I.C.E.)

Dave Bertrand
On The Border In Arizona

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