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Updated Jun 16, 2014 - 11:18 am

Arizona authorities say they’ve arrested cartel lookouts

TUCSON, Ariz. — Authorities said they have captured and prosecuted a group
of “scouts” paid by Mexican drug cartels to be lookouts for drug and human
smugglers on Arizona hilltops.

The Pinal County sheriff’s and county attorney’s offices said they arrested 8
cartel members who were paid to spend numerous days on hilltops overlooking the
southern Arizona desert. They used cellphones and digitally-encrypted radios to
communicate.

“Some of them have extensive criminal records here in the United States,” Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said.

The investigation began in February when deputies pulled
over a 22-year-old man in Eloy. Garcia was carrying 600 pounds of food, and cans
of gasoline. Garcia said he was paid to drop off the supplies to cartel
“scouts.”

Deputies and border agents arrested 7 suspected lookouts in remote areas a
month later. The men told authorities they had spent more than a week in the
desert.

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