Man with neo-Nazi ties leading patrols in ArizonaPosted: Updated:
A group of civilians with neo-Nazi ties has been leading their own heavily-armed desert patrols against illegal immigrants.
The group boasts on a Web entry on the blog "Just Another Day:" "There are 11 less illegal aliens in this country thanks to us. We are doing the job the federal government refuses to do."
"They're coming to this with the express purpose to create some kind of a controversy," said Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu.
The group counts among its leaders Harry Hughes and J.T. Ready, who have openly identified with the National Socialist Movement. Ready participated in a neo-Nazi rally at the capitol in November.
The group goes on their missions wearing camouflage, with rifles slung across their chests, patrolling desert corridors in Pinal County.
According to Hughes' blog, this week the militia rounded up a group of thirsty suspected illegal immigrants, then called the Border Patrol to alert them of the find. Law enforcement, however, is not welcoming their help.
"Even though they're professing to be trying to do something good, they're driven and motivated by hate, and that's wrong," Babeu said.
It is legal for Ready and his fellow militia to be in the desert with firearms, but Babeu says the group's interactions with and potential holding of suspected illegals is a recipe for disaster.
"They do not act with the authority of law enforcement," Babeu said. "He's not defending his home; he's not defending his person; he is intentionally going out looking for trouble."
The Southern Poverty Law Center identifies the National Socialist Movement as a hate group. Regardless of affiliation, Babeu says civilians should not be taking the law into their own hands.