'This is America's problem': Sheriffs across the nation to meet in Arizona to talk U.S.-Mexico border issues

A group of sheriffs from Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, California, and all the other states will gather in Cochise County to tackle the border crisis in September.

The sheriffs will be addressing drugs coming across the U.S.-Mexico border, human smuggling, and a lack of resources. They also plan to discuss the Arizona Sheriff’s Association coming to a critical vote of "no confidence" in U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus as the organization insists he is not fit to lead due to a spike in illegal immigration.

Border patrol agents have a lot to tackle with migrant crossings, drugs, and other illegal activity, but recently, they’re noticing more U.S. citizens being recruited and helping the cartels finish the job.

"We do not have enough resources, enough agents, you know, to patrol the border. We do the best we can with what we have," said border agent Jesus Vasavilbasco. 

Human trafficking, drug smuggling, and other illegal activity is a billion-dollar industry for Mexican cartels, so much so that they’re posting "help wanted" ads on social media to recruit Americans to do the job for them.

"Basically what it says is, a message saying, if you go to the border right now, we'll give you $4,000, $5,000 to go and pick up either migrants or pick up packages and then take them over to Phoenix and then somebody will meet you there and pay you off, and then you can do the exchange," Vasavilbasco said.

A U.S. citizen is now facing criminal charges after a border patrol agent stopped an SUV on SR-80, but the driver fled dragging the agent 15 feet. The driver and seven migrants inside were arrested and the agent is OK.

"We never know who we are going to encounter, either with migrants, and also with U.S. citizens at this point. The dangers are many. Not only are you working by yourself in the desert all the time, but also you're doing vehicle stops in remote areas such as this. The dangers are always present," Vasavilbasco said.

In Cochise County, Sheriff Mark Dannels says out of more than 600 people in his jail for border-related crimes, only around 40 are non-U.S. citizens.

He’s hosting the Southwest Border Sheriffs' Conference, a way to gather sheriffs from across all 50 states to share the issues they face every day.

"This is not Cochise County's problem. This is not the state of Arizona's problem. This is America's problem, and the challenges don't stop here in Cochise County, don't stop in Iowa," Dannels said. "Together, collectively, if we share each other, we have a strong voice to change how we police in this country."

Agents expect activity at the border to pick up even more as we head into cooler weather.

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