Gunmen who opened fire on a truck carrying illegal immigrants and their smugglers, killing three people and wounding two, were probably rival smugglers, an investigator said Friday.
The gunmen chased down the truck Thursday northwest of Tucson and opened fire but were never able to stop it and eventually abandoned the chase, said Pima County sheriff's Lt. Michael O'Connor, commander of the violent crimes unit.
"It really appears to us it was a situation where it was a rival smuggling operation trying to take these people," O'Connor said.
Investigators are still trying to determine the motive. But feuding among smuggling organizations is not uncommon, sometimes involving smugglers taking customers from rival groups to be held for ransom.
Smuggling violence in Arizona has increased over the last six months, said Lauren Mack, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who was not speaking specifically about Thursday's shootings.
She attributed the rising violence to smugglers who are frustrated by the increasing difficulty they have in sneaking immigrants across the Arizona border, which remains the busiest illegal entry point on the U.S.-Mexico frontier.
To read the entire article, Click Here.