Federal agents were warned last year that a Minuteman group was planning to shut down a large section of freeway in central Arizona in an attempt to catch smugglers crossing through the desert, according to a secret law enforcement memo leaked last week.
The April 28, 2010 memo said the U.S. Border Patrol had received information that the group, which went by the name “A Concerned Citizen,” was recruiting people to help it shut down part or all of a 30-mile stretch of Interstate 8 between Casa Grande and Gila Bend.
The group reportedly wanted to carry out the operation to show support for Arizona’s strict new immigration law, known as SB1070, which had been signed by Gov. Jan Brewer five days prior.
The document didn’t say where the Border Patrol got its information, but it was clear the agency was worried about the development. It said the “tone of this information is quite unlike” that of better-publicized operations by Minuteman groups that had patrolled the borderlands.
“If this new operation happens,” the memo said, “there could be potential for human rights violations and a possibility of violence between armed civilians and smugglers or with law enforcement.”