A survey of 310 miles of the border on May 10, 2007 revealed a border that is largely unprotected. More than 100 miles has no fencing of any sort. Fifty-one miles of light steel beam vehicle barriers are considered easily defeated.
Twenty-eight miles of Bollard style vehicles barriers has been installed but it too is easily defeated, especially since DHS did not fill the pipes with concrete as is called for in this type of fencing.
Hundreds if not thousands vehicle tracks were seen crossing the border. There is evidence that many are fresh.
Thirty-one border patrol vehicles were seen at or near the border. That is one per ten miles of border. There was very little evidence of the National Guard with the exception of the area immediately surrounding Nogales and on the Colorado River near Yuma.
The highly touted vehicle barrier along the Goldwater bombing range in Arizona was halted on March 20, with half the job left undone. No explanation could be found.
ABP found no evidence of border construction activity related to the SBInet project 28.
Border Survey - May 10, 2007
On Thursday, May 10, American Border Patrol performed an aerial survey of the U.S./Mexico border in Arizona, as part of Operation B.E.E.F. The survey covered 311 miles, consisting of the entire Arizona/Mexico border with the exception of the area patrolled by the Douglas Border Patrol station (40 miles).
The survey was performed in a Cessna TU-206 using a Sony Hi-Definition video camera and a Canon EOS-1 high-resolution still camera. Video footage was continuous for the entire run.
During the mission the crew conversations are recorded onto the camera's audio track. As still photographs are made, the pilot marks the location in a Garmin 296 GPS map system and the photographer calls out the number of the photo. Later this information is used to make a precise determination of location the photograph in terms of longitude and latitude.
The entire survey will be made available as DVDs in both conventional definition and high definition (BluRay) formats. Independent organizations can use these DVDs to verify the accuracy of the data reported here.
The results are summarized by Border Patrol station area of responsibility.
The Naco Station is responsible for approximately 37 miles of border. It includes the Naco Port of Entry.
This section saw a 30% increase in apprehensions between March of 2006 and March of 2007. (Recent data suggest a significant drop in April followed by a gradual return to normal rates in early May.)
Recent border infrastructure improvements consist of road construction, especially erosion control at north-south washes, and vehicles barriers, mostly consisting of railroad rails and to a lesser degree cement pipes. (Border Patrol agents have reported that the steel rail type barrier has been defeated by rigging a rail as a gate that cannot be easily detected.)
A private fence installed by Minutemen runs about 0.7 miles along the border, however it remains unfinished with one-half of the fencing installed. No major change has been seen in this fence since early November, 2006. Watch
A single layer wall of 14' high steel matting runs 3.6 miles along the border east and west of at the Port of Entry at Naco Arizona. Watch - Lighting is installed along 6.8 miles of the border east and west of the Port of entry.
A total of 6.25 miles of steel beam vehicle barrier has been installed.
Sixteen camera towers span the 37-mile Naco border zone. Hundreds of seismic sensors are buried along the border zone.
The western 11 miles of the Naco border zone, including the San Pedro River corridor, is protected by barbed-wire stock fence, with the exception of 0.7 miles of tank-trap type vehicle barriers in the Coronado National Monument.
Six Border Patrol vehicles were observed at or near (1/4 mile) of the border. No National Guard units were seen.
The Sonoita Station is responsible for about twenty-five miles of the border. Agents have told ABP that this is a favorite area for drug smugglers.
Much of the border road had been recently graded. Newly installed steel beam-type vehicle barriers cover about 7.5 miles. No camera towers were seen. No lights or camera towers were seen.
One Border Patrol vehicle was observed during the run. No National Guard.
The Nogales Station is responsible for approximately 30 miles of the border, the eastern and western of which is mountainous terrain exceeding 10 percent grade. It includes the Nogales Port of Entry.
A steel-beam vehicle barrier runs along 1.75 miles east of the Nogales border wall. Some vehicle barrier was seen west of the wall however the sections were small, about fifty yards or so.
A single layered steel matting wall runs 3.4 miles east and west of the Nogales Port of entry. Watch
One Border Patrol vehicle was seen near the border in the eastern ten miles of the Nogales Station area of responsibility. No Border Patrol vehicles were observed west of the Nogales city limits.
A number of National Guard lookout posts are spotted around Nogales, however some outposts were unmanned during this survey.
There are a some spotty vehicle barriers west of Nogales.
Lights and camera towers were seen in the immediate vicinity of Nogales.
West of Nogales the border cannot be seen from the air as there are no roads, barriers or fences in this rough terrain, however numerous trails and dirt roads were seen suggesting smuggling,. (See video)
The Tucson Station is responsible for approximately 25 miles of border, much of which is mountainous, although not impassible. It includes the Sasabe Port of Entry.
There are about 7 miles of steel-beam vehicle barriers bracketing Sasabe. This barrier is within SBInet's Project 28. The National Guard is present in the area although no outposts were observed during this survey.
No lights or camera towers were seen.
No Border Patrol or National Guard vehicles were observed during this run although the video is limited to within about 1/4 mile of the border.
Casa Grande Station
The Casa Grande Border Patrol Station is responsible for approximately 63 miles of the border within the Tohono O'odham and Papago Indian Reservations. SBInet's Project 28. runs from eastern border of the Indian reservation to Moreno Mountain. The border road in this part of Project 28 has been improved, including a gravel topping;
The first 9 miles of the border from the eastern boundary was protected by a five-strand barbed wire stock fence. There are approximately two miles of Bollard type fencing just east of the San Miguel River. The riverbed appears to be wide open with no fencing or other protection visible. Many tire tracks were observed suggesting on going smuggling operations .
The rest of the border (52 miles) is protected by a five-strand barbed wire fence, with many breaks. North-south washes were covered in tracks, presumably human.
At one point there was a large cattle guard and gate. The gate was open.
Five Border Patrol vehicles were spotted in 63 miles - one was stuck in the sand next to a break in the fence. Watch
The Ajo Border Patrol Station is responsible for approximately 44 miles of the border principally within the Organ Pipe National Monument. It includes the Lukeville Port of Entry.
ABP observed construction of a Bollard fence in a canyon at the eastern edge of the Ajo border area. It was two miles long ending at a steep mountain.
Seven miles later steel beam fencing of a slightly different design appeared and ran for 28 miles. Thus 36 of the 44 miles of Ajo border was protected by some type of vehicle barrier.
Arizona State Highway 85 meets the border at Lukeville. Mexican Highway 2 joins the border 2.9 miles west of Lukeville and 1.7 miles north of Sonoyta, Mexico.A number of dirt airstrips were observed where Mexican highway 2 joins the border, suggesting the opportunity for drug smuggling.
The final western 3.8 miles of the Ajo border was wide open with no fence at all.
Six Border Patrol vehicles were seen at or near (1/4 mile) of the border. No National Guard vehicles were seen.
The Wellton Border Patrol Station is responsible for approximately 46 miles of the border. Mexican highway 2, which parallels the borders, is two miles south. U.S. Interstate 8 is about sixty miles north.
The first twenty-eight miles of the east to west survey can be characterized as open border with many sections of fence torn down. Many vehicle tracks could be seen cris-crossing the border. These tracks could be seen even on Google satellite photos.
A number of signs were posted on the border fence. The signs ABP photographed were written in Spanish and appeared to warn about natural hazards such as snakes. ABP saw no signs warning of the dangers within the Goldwater bombing range.
The remaining 18 miles of border was still basically open, however fewer vehicular tracks could be seen due to the rough terrain although some two-track trails could be clearly seen, even on Google satellite photos
Near the end of the run hundreds of foot-paths could be seen leading into a washes that crosses the Goldwater bombing range.
No Border Patrol or National Guard vehicles were seen at or near the 46 miles of border.
The Yuma Border Patrol Station is responsible for approximately 48 miles of southern border and another 20 miles of Colorado River border frontage. Mexican Highway 2 parallels the border for the entire 48 miles and is within 700 feet of the border, making it very convenient for smugglers. It includes the San Luis Port of Entry.
The eastern twenty-four miles of the Yuma border is wide open with no fence at all. Twenty-four miles of the western portion of the border is protected by a Bollard-type vehicle barrier. There are nine miles of single layer people barriers and two miles of double layer people barriers.
As was reported following our survey of March 20 hundreds upon hundreds of north-south vehicle tracks were observed during this survey.
Half way through the east to west run along the border ABP spotted the east end of the Bollard-style vehicle barrier that had been under construction on March 20. Comparing the March 20 photos with the May 10 photos revealed that construction had probably been halted on March 20. This seems strange since on March 20 a survey crew was working about a half-mile ahead of the construction crew, suggesting that work was to continue. Inquiries into why the construction was halted have been unsuccessful.
Construction equipment was still on site, but parked.
Why would the Department of Homeland Security halt the construction of a vehicle barrier system half-way when photographic evidence shows that the entire 48-mile segment is being used by smugglers?
Comparison of the photographs of March 20 and May 10 revealed some other interesting information. For example, many of the vehicle tracks seen in the sand on March 20 were not there on May 10, while new ones were. This included most of the tracks made by the large backhoe that was being used to hammer the barriers into the ground. This tells us that the older tracks had been eroded, probably by wind.
Much of the soil in this area is sandy and tracks can be erased by strong winds. Therefore, the hundreds of tracks seen entering the Goldwater range may be new! If this is true, it means hundreds of vehicles entered the United States in a six-week period with nothing at the border to stop them!
(A closer look at the people fence revealed that our earlier estimate that 2.5 miles of double fence had been built was incorrect. The actual number is 2 miles.)
Literature suggests that the Bollard-style fencing includes the use of concrete to fill the vertical steel pipes. ABP could see no evidence of this practice, i..e., the pipes seen along the border on May 10 were hollow.
Light towers and camera towers were limited to the area immediately east of the San Luis Port of Entry.
National Guard were seen along the canal that parallels the Colorado River, however, fewer than were seen on March 20.
The May 10 survey of the Arizona/Mexico border showed some improvements in border infrastructure, mainly in the form of road improvements and vehicle barriers. No new double fencing could be seen.
Length of border surveyed: 310 miles
Steel beam vehicle barriers 51.4 miles
Bollard-style vehicle barriers 28 miles
Single-layered steel people barrier fence 16 miles
Double-layered steel people barrier fence 2 miles
Number of Border Patrol vehicles at or near (1/4 mile) of the border - 31