The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office was recently awarded $689,312.00 in grant funding by the Arizona Department of Homeland Security (AZDOHS) to work overtime and purchase much needed equipment for Operation Stonegarden.
Operation Stonegarden is a joint-mission, between local, Tribal, territorial, State and Federal law enforcement agencies, to secure the United States’ northern and southern borders and those of States and territories bordering international waters.
Regarding this operation, PCSO’s mission is to deny access to illegal entrance for Human Trafficking Organizations, Drug Trafficking Organizations and possible terrorists, who intend to cause harm or commit crimes against this nation that travel through Pinal County, Arizona after crossing the Arizona-Mexico border.
The majority of human and narcotics smuggling occurs in the remote desert-areas leading up to more populated- areas within Pinal County. Human and narcotics smugglers use these remote routes, as they have the advantage of a lower Law Enforcement presence. In addition, these smugglers utilized high elevation positions to observe and report on the movement and whereabouts of Law Enforcement. This then provides them with the advantage of gaining entry into the United States and passing through undetected.
In 2014, PCSO made 228 felony arrests and 196 misdemeanor arrests while working Operation Stonegarden. PCSO seized 30,545.10 pounds of Marijuana, 46.8 grams of Methamphetamine, 36.3 grams of Cocaine and 27 weapons. PCSO turned over 363 illegal aliens to Border Patrol, developed 256 new intelligence events and developed 244 new criminal cases.
The following is a list of the equipment, for which the grant funding provides, and a description:
(1) Recon B2-FO w/150mW LP NTSC Thermal Imager binocular for long range night vision
The thermal imager binocular is a high powered hand-held, dual thermal channel multi sensor target acquisition and target geo location device with a 2.5X extender. The thermal imager allows Deputies to locate and apprehend both vehicles and people involved in smuggling activities that are traveling through these areas for up to 7-miles. The geo-location device is able to direct Deputies to the smuggler’s exact location.
(5) Garmin RINO 655T GPS with Position Reporting capability
The rural desert area is a prime environment where drug smugglers are increasing their efforts through the use of human “mules.” These Garmin RINOs will allow deputies to keep track of their locations, tracks and routes. The Garmin RINO is compatible with other hand held Garmins and deputies can send messages to other law enforcement officers without making any noise.
(20) Streamlight Tactical IR Flashlights
These infrared flashlights will be used by Deputies assigned to Stonegarden to search for illegal activities while working the Operation Stonegarden night detail. The flashlights provide Stonegarden-assigned with the ability to observe the remote desert-areas while utilizing night vision goggles and without suspects seeing them.