Arizona sheriff warns Memorial Day travelers of Mexican cartel assassins

May 24, 2016, 5:40 AM | Updated: 1:07 pm
(Pinal County Sheriff's Office Photos)...
(Pinal County Sheriff's Office Photos)
(Pinal County Sheriff's Office Photos)

PHOENIX — An Arizona sheriff is warning Memorial Day travelers about the dangers posed by professional assassins hired by the Mexican drug cartels.

The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office said in a Monday release it was informed the cartels are likely sending the assassins — referred to as “sicarios” — to take out crews who are attempting to steal drug shipments from the cartels in smuggling corridors.

“We are taking this threat seriously and believe that the public and my deputies deserve to know that there is an elevated risk of encountering gun violence in certain areas of Pinal County,” Sheriff Paul Babeu said in a press release.

Babeu went on to say he is concerned that potential violence between the assassins and those looking to steal drugs could harm “innocent Americans and my deputies.”

Babeu said people who choose to celebrate Memorial Day in Pinal County’s western deserts should be armed in the instance they come across smugglers or sicarios.

PCSO said it has received reports of multiple shootouts between rival gangs south of its jurisdiction. It also said it arrested 21 cartel scouts and numerous smugglers last year.

The agency add that the last time it received similar information about a brewing feud in Pinal County, it found two dead cartel scouts on a mountain top.

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Arizona sheriff warns Memorial Day travelers of Mexican cartel assassins