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Lies, Betrayals and Self-Promotions: The Shawna Forde Story

Shawna Forde, the anti-immigration crusader who has been accused of murder in the home-invasion killings of an Arizona man and his 9-year-old daughter, got the full treatment on Sunday from her hometown paper.

The full treatment — more than 5,000 words of it by reporter Scott North in The Herald of Everett, Wash. — provides the most extensive account to date of the lies, betrayals and self-promotions carried out over the years by Forde, 41, one of three people awaiting trial for the murders of Raul Flores, 29, and his daughter Brisenia on May 30 in Arivaca, Ariz., a town near the Mexican border. Police say she believed Flores was a drug smuggler and she planned to use any drugs or money she found in the home to support her Minuteman American Defense group.

The story provides example after example of how Forde, presenting herself as an energetic patriot with deep concerns about illegal immigration and border security, found a warm welcome in the Minuteman movement, “a loose-knit, fractious network that needed volunteers enough to set aside skepticism.”

One of the people interviewed for the story was a private investigator and security consultant named Mike Carlucci. Over the years, the story said, Forde described Carlucci to reporters and her Minuteman associates as “her link to legal muscle and even how she got dirt on her enemies.”

The story continued:

That is a lie, Carlucci said. It's one of many that apparently went down easy in Minutemen circles, he said.

Some within the border-watch movement seem particularly susceptible to manipulation and fraud, Carlucci said. Their groups are largely volunteer, emotional about patriotism and love of country. They can't agree how to conduct themselves and, he said, for some that ambivalence extends to whether they should follow the nation's laws.

“I think it is a user-friendly environment for folks who aren’t necessarily accountable because there are not hard and fast standards of accountability,” he said.

As border patrollers, the story made clear, Forde and her band were generally hapless, disorganized and ineffective. Early this year, Forde tried to piggyback onto a better-organized, better-equipped patrol operation called Project Bluelight, operated by a former private investigator and onetime Marine named Joe Adams. Adams didn’t welcome the attention, as he indicated in a May 11 E-mail to Forde:

"Here is what I am suggesting. 1. Stop dropping mine and Project Bluelight's name to give you and your amateur operations credibility. 2. Stay in Washington and off the border for the good of the movement. Shauna (sic), you are a dangerous sociopath and anyone who would listen to your (expletive) is an idiot. You do not know what you are doing, and you put people in the border movement in harms way. ... Go away. Good luck in prison."

The Herald has been tracking Forde’s antics for a long time. In February, after Forde suggested that Mexican drug cartels had targeted her for a series of violent attacks, the paper ran a profile that cast serious doubt on Forde’s claims, and summarized her troubled past, which included felonies starting from age 11 and repeated convictions for theft, burglary and prostitution.

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