ARIVACA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Drive down the main drag of Arivaca and you could be in any small town. It has a general store, a cantina and some other cool, old buildings.

But something else has popped up in this southern Arizona community, which is more unusual. Residents are posting signs with a blunt message. That is, militia members are not welcome.

"I want everybody to be aware that we do not want the militias," said Clara Godfrey, who put a large sign on the side of the road, adjacent to her property.

"These people are coming into our community. They're posting all kinds of falsehood," said Godfrey.

She's referring to videos that three of the groups have posted online. One video accuses a local humanitarian aid group of aiding and abetting child traffickers. Another video accuses a property owner of being a member of a Mexican drug cartel. Others simply portray the community in a negative and false light.

But some people who live here worry that these obscure postings will find an audience with deranged zealots, who may decide to take matters into their own hands. They worry about this, because it happened once before.

On May 30, 2009, two men and a woman with ties to the militia movement broke into an Arivaca home and murdered a nine-year-old girl and her father. According to the subsequent investigation, the intruders believed Raul Flores was a drug smuggler and that his home would have drugs and money on the premises. Flores' daughter, Brisenia, was a casualty of this ill-thought out scheme.

Shawna Forde and Jason Bush are now on death row, while Albert Gaxiola is serving a life sentence for the murders.

"A family was destroyed because of something they heard somewhere," said Godfrey. And Godfrey worries that history could repeat itself with the new attention militias are focusing on Arivaca.

Tim Foley moved to the area roughly a year ago. His group, Arizona Border Recon, was featured in a documentary and on many national print and broadcast news outlets.

Earlier this summer, a group called Veterans on Patrol came through town and made several videos, containing the allegations of child trafficking. That group gained notoriety earlier in the year by posting videos that alleged a drug cartel was using a Tucson-area mine as a hub for child sex trafficking. Tucson police investigated and found no evidence the allegations were true.

Also this summer, Bryan Melchior rolled into town with his military-inspired armored vehicle, complete with a mock-up of a gun turret on the roof.

"We are advocates of the Constitution and of freedom of the American way of life and we believe in border security," said Melchior. He denies that his group is a militia. He says he's filming a documentary that's meant to show viewers what life is like on the border.

But videos that he has posted online show him searching men who appear to be illegal border crossers on the side of a road.

Melchior says the community of Arivaca has not welcomed him with open arms.

"Arivaca is the most unwelcoming town I've ever been to in the United States of America. And I've been to almost every town of every state in this country," said Melchior.

Some community members who spoke to CBS 5 Investigates say they don't mind the militia-types coming to town, but they do not like the publicity they are bringing.

Arivaca is a picturesque community that is popular with wildlife watchers, motorcycle riders and retirees. Its close proximity to the Arizona-Mexico border gives it a southwestern flair, but has also brought on suspicions that some members of the community are involved in smuggling.

And as long as the militia-types keep coming through, the signs will remain.

"How can you want anybody like this in our community? We can't wish this away," said Godfrey.

Morgan Loew's hard-hitting investigations can be seen weekdays on CBS 5 News at 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
 
 


Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

CBS 5 Investigative Reporter

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(12) comments

Ameriborn

Militias are protected by the 2nd amendment of the U.S. Constitution and have a very important role in the protection of states and the citizens. Militias are more important then law officers and are protected over law officers, by the constitution. It is when law officers and courts fail in protecting the U.S. citizens that militias become the force to protect the citizens.
People that do not want legal militias, do not understand militias or are aid and abetting the invasion of the USA and depriving U.S. citizens of their constitutional rights. Which in reality is a violation of Article 3 section 3 of the U.S. Constitution (treason).

Azbest

Why wont you post my comments , oh did i hit you in your anal cavity to hard or what .

Azbest

My own mnd ,, lmao you know who i am i know who you are if you want me to open a can of worms ok then is open here we go , you done time in prison for being a pedophile ok would you like to continue this game of chess is your move go right ahead .

Bonn Bonn

I saw one sign from one lady.

Dean

Sounds like a town full of illegals who intend on taking over the USA with their illegal activities.
Obey USA laws and there would be no problems.

AdobemanAZ

You don't live there - I do. Arivaca is a wonderful community with great people. It's the politicization of immigration that has brought these militias to Arivaca and they are a scourge. Mostly men filled with hate that think because they have a gun, they can play army. It's not the Mexicans people in Arivaca worry about.

Azbest

You are an idiot dude , do you have proof to back up your trap that the people living there are Illegal,

Azbest

Do you have proof to back up what you are saying no you do not , pls if you are men enough act like one then .

MyOwnMind

that town is full of illegal alien sympathizers. One of the most unfriendly towns in Southern AZ I have ever visited.

Azbest

lmao., dont make me open a can of worms ok , you know who im an i know who you are , should we start by saying that you done time for being a pedophile, should i continue with my game of chess is your call .

Azbest

Im just lmao at your expense.

nuusmaan

Arivaca used to be one of the most enjoyable, peaceful late-spring bicycle rides in AZ. Not with this. There have always been border crossers here, but not citizens with assault weapons and gun turrets trying to play cop with real lives.

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