Uptick in Violence Forces Closing of Parkland Along Mexico Border to Americans

Fox News, June 16, 2010

About 3,500 acres of southern Arizona have been closed off to U.S. citizens due to increased violence at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The closed off area includes part of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge that stretches along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu told Fox News that violence against law enforcement officers and U.S. citizens has increased in the past four months, forcing officers on an 80 mile stretch of Arizona land north of the Mexico border off-limits to Americans.

The refuge had been adversely affected by the increase in drug smugglers, illegal activity and surveillance, which made it dangerous for Americans to visit.

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials have warned visitors in Arizona to beware of heavily armed drug smugglers and human traffickers.

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Signs have been posted warning Americans not to cross into the closed off territory south of Interstate 8. Babeu said the signs are not enough–he said Arizona needs more resources to help scale back the violence caused by the drug cartels.

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