The arrest of a border vigilante accused of pointing a gun at a Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff's deputy during a confrontation in a desert smuggling zone shows that the "minuteman" militia movement is still active in Arizona and a growing threat to public safety, law-enforcement officials say.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has recently issued safety briefings for its employees about heavily armed groups in the Vekol Valley area, where the weekend confrontation occurred. The groups have been cited for infractions, including driving off-road, driving over protected plants and driving at night without lights.
The agency has also warned agents about dangers that the militias pose to the members of the public, who have encountered some of the men standing along public roads, heavily armed and dressed in camouflage, giving the impression that the roads are closed, said Pamela Mathis, a spokeswoman for the BLM.
"Basically, the overall point is they're a major safety issue for federal rangers, for the public and for themselves," she said.
Read the full Arizona Republic story.