‘Private Police Force’ Group Sets Sights On Illegal Immigrants

Jose Carvajal, North County Times (Calif.), August 13,

[Web site for Private Police Force.]

La Cresta—Fed up with what it says is a failure on the part of authorities to act on the area’s illegal immigrant problem, a group purporting to be residents of the affluent, sprawling and isolated La Cresta, Tenaja and Santa Rosa communities is vowing to take matters into its own hands.

A group calling itself Private Police Force announced last week on a new Web site that it will begin doing the job U.S. Border Patrol and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department aren’t doing by conducting citizens’ arrests on illegal immigrants and detaining them.

If it follows through on its promise, the group would be taking things further than other anti-illegal immigration groups, such as The Minutemen Project, which have previously deployed their members to monitor the U.S.-Mexico border and only report illegal immigrant sightings.

The Private Police Force is threatening to actually detain illegal immigrants.

“They will be handcuffed to the Oak Trees,” according to the group’s Web site, so they can be picked up by authorities.

“Don’t treat this website lightly,” the group states. “We will make Citizens Arrests on Illegal Aliens. We will File Criminal and Civil Complaints if you Hire or House an Illegal. If you have sold a vehicle to an illegal, we will prosecute you under the DMV law too. If you house an illegal, we will also prosecute you under the Zoning Laws.”

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Though it states it is prepared to identify those in the community sympathetic to illegal immigrants, the group—which launched its Web site through an anonymous Internet-hosting company—is not yet identifying any of its own members.

The names and photos of those who oppose the group’s efforts will be posted on the Web site, http://www.privatepoliceforce.com, according to a statement on the site. The names and photos of known illegal-immigrant workers will also be posted, the statement says.

Also, arrests will be recorded on video and offered for viewing on the Web site, the group states.

The only information provided on the site about the group’s members is that “We have three lawyers and several regular police officers who have pledged private investigation time in our area,” and that the group would be hiring “a few security professionals.”

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According to the group’s statement, “Many Mexican illegals are stealing from many residents on the Santa Rosa Plateau, including La Cresta, Tenaja and the surrounding communities.” The immigrants camp in the nearby canyons and other areas and are employed by homeowners in the community, the statement says.

Many of them have escaped or have been released from Mexican jails and have lengthy criminal records that include child molestation, rape and murder, according to the statement.

Proof is not offered to support any of those claims.

Longtime La Cresta resident Vicki Long said Tuesday that the area has had its share of problems with illegal immigrants over the years. Though she said she is not aware what the situation is now, Long said there was a time several years ago when illegal immigrants would deal drugs and fire guns from a camp near her property.

The group and its Web site, she said, are an indication that it is probably still a problem.

“I just question why they’re having to do that when we’ve got other agencies that should be handling the problem,” Long said. “We pay our taxes for that sort of thing. I don’t know why law enforcement isn’t helping these people. They sound quite desperate.”

Though the group echoes some of the things Long said about the illegal immigrant problem in the area on its Web site, it does so with much more inflammatory language.

In a section of the Web site—which appears professionally done and features photos of police officers, barbed wire and a set of hands cuffed behind someone’s back—titled “How to Recognize an Illegal/Thief,” the group offers several tips.

Among the things to look for, it states, are “If they carry a short garden hose, used to siphon gas from your car at night” and “If they carry their lunch in a plastic bag composed of stolen oranges and burritos.”

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