Pinal Co. man finds illegal immigrants on his property, refuses to call authorities

Posted: Updated:
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. -- What would you do if illegal immigrants crossing into Arizona from Mexico showed up on your property asking for help?

On Tuesday, a man in Pinal County who didn’t want to use his name answered the call with open arms.

"They're human beings," he said. "I think they are victims of this situation of the lack of security on the border."

Ben, 29, and his 20-year-old cousin illegally crossed the border eight days ago but ran out of water.

"He said you need food, water, something? And he buy food for us," Ben said.

The men didn’t want to use their full names out of fear of deportation.

They paid a "coyote" or human smuggler $300 to guide them through the desert. They said the "coyote" abandoned them and they ran out of water.

Ben said he left behind a wife in Mexico.

"I came to work and because I don't like Mexico," he said. "I don't like the government. I don't like the Mexican police. They are bad people, corrupt people."

The cousins said during a night in the desert, men wearing military uniforms woke them up. These men had guns, night-vision goggles and radios.

Ben said the "coyote" told the men in uniforms they were just crossing and the men left them alone.

The Pinal County Sheriff's Office confirmed these crews are out there, sometimes dressed in fatigues.

Tim Gaffney with PCSO said people have been shot and had their drugs stolen by these men in the desert.

"I'm very concerned and I personally don't know what to do anymore," said the man from Pinal County.

This man is afraid a drug runner will end up on his land.

Ben said getting into Arizona is easy. He can slip through the border fence. He's worked in California for eight years in the past and that's where he learned English.

Ben crossed back into Mexico to see family and was heading back to California this week.

The illegal immigrant said once into Arizona, it's hard to stay alive if you don’t have water and come across criminals.

The man in Pinal County man who gave the illegal immigrants water decided against turning them in to authorities.

"I did not call the sheriff's office because ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] picks and chooses who they're going to pick up," said the Pinal County man.

Officials from PCSO and ICE referred us to Border Patrol. 

3TV reached out to Border Patrol for comment and as of air time we had not heard back from them.

On Wednesday 3TV was emailed this statement from Border Patrol:

"Tucson Sector Border Patrol had no involvement with or knowledge of this particular incident; consequently, we are unable to offer comment.

"We appreciate the efforts of concerned citizens as they act as our eyes and ears. We strongly encourage everyone to call the U.S. Border Patrol and/or local law enforcement authorities if they witness or suspect illegal activity. Border Patrol agents work around the clock providing rapid response to reports of illicit activity. Citizens can remain anonymous by calling the Border Patrol at 1-877-872-7435 toll free. Thank you for helping us get our message to the community."