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Gunmen in fatal attack likely rival smugglers

Gunmen who opened fire on a truck carrying illegal immigrants and their smugglers, killing three people and wounding two, were probably rival smugglers, an investigator said Friday.

The gunmen chased down the truck Thursday northwest of Tucson and opened fire but were never able to stop it and eventually abandoned the chase, said Pima County sheriff's Lt. Michael O'Connor, commander of the violent crimes unit.

"It really appears to us it was a situation where it was a rival smuggling operation trying to take these people," O'Connor said.

Investigators are still trying to determine the motive. But feuding among smuggling organizations is not uncommon, sometimes involving smugglers taking customers from rival groups to be held for ransom.

Smuggling violence in Arizona has increased over the last six months, said Lauren Mack, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who was not speaking specifically about Thursday's shootings.

She attributed the rising violence to smugglers who are frustrated by the increasing difficulty they have in sneaking immigrants across the Arizona border, which remains the busiest illegal entry point on the U.S.-Mexico frontier.


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Arizona Contact Info

MCDC of Arizona

State Director
Lucy Garza
Phone 520 559-4095

Tucson Chapter

Chapter Director

Chapter Committee to Be Announced

520 559-4095

Phoenix Chapter

Chapter Director/Media Liaison
Phone: 520-829-3112
Chapter Chairman

To be announced

Lake Havasu Chapter

Chapter Director
To Be Announced

Prescott Chapter

Chapter Director
Mel Oliverson
Phone: 928-445-1930
Email: melosart@hotmail.com

Green Valley Chapter

Chapter Director
To Be Announced

Cochise County Chapter

Chapter Director
Bob Knobloch
Phone: 520-439-0423
Email: knobloch98@msn.com

La Paz County

Chapter Director
Rick Roland
928 916-2055

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