A U.S. Border Patrol agent found a live pipe bomb while patrolling a known smuggling route west of Tucson on May 30, 2009, a classified memo released by a group that hacked the Pima County, Ariz., sheriff’s department reveals.
The device, described in an intelligence bulletin issued by the department’s bomb squad as “moderately complex,” exploded during the course of the squad’s investigation. The memo does not say whether anyone was hurt or speculate about who was responsible. It does caution agents working remote roads near the border to “be vigilant” and look out for “suspect items.”
The memo, released by the hacker group known as LulzSec, states that the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the incident but does not describe the results of the investigation.
Although its provenance apparently remains unknown, the bomb’s discovery is not entirely surprising in light of the anti-immigrant tensions that have plagued the region around Arizona’s border with Mexico for years.
In another part of Arizona on precisely the same day the pipe bomb went off, former Minuteman American Defense (MAD) leader Shawna Forde orchestrated a home invasion that culminated in the murder of a Latino man and his 9-year-old daughter in Arivaca, Ariz. Forde and one of her accomplices were sentenced to death earlier this year; a third accused accomplice is currently on trial.
On Jan. 14, 2011, a member of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM) named Jeffrey Harbin was arrested with three improvised explosive devices, explosive powders and other bomb-making materials that he allegedly intended to offer to anti-immigration groups patrolling the border. Harbin’s trial is set for August 2.
In June 2010, J.T. Ready — who now describes himself as a former member of the NSM — led a group of armed extremists into the Arizona desert to apprehend immigrants and drug smugglers. According to the Heat City website, Ready during the same month handed out fliers calling for a bombing campaign against immigrants. “We all should be actively advocating daily to mainstream America the most humane, non-racist, fair border security plan available,” the fliers reportedly read. “Namely, A MINEFIELD!”
In 2005, vigilantes wearing plastic “Undocumented Border Patrol Agent” badges converged on Cochise County’s aptly named Border Road to play army and listen to a rousing speech by immigrant-bashing former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.).