Open Border Attracts Human Smugglers From Across US To Arizona

Charles Wildry | Jaquaviese Johnson {Photos courtesy Cochise County Sheriff's Office]

An open border and tough economic times appear to be attracting human smugglers from across the country to Arizona.

Just last week, a pair of smugglers from Florida and one from Michigan were arrested by deputies with the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office and the Operation Safe Streets task force.

On September 28, at approximately 7:45 p.m., task force members conducted a traffic stop in Hereford on a 2010 Chevy Malibu driven by 29-year-old Jaquaviese Johnson of Michigan. Deputies discovered that Johnson was transporting four undocumented immigrants. The immigrants initially fled from the vehicle but were taken into custody a short distance away.

Johnson was found to also have two outstanding warrants, one being for dangerous drugs.

Then on September 29, 2022 at approximately 3:30 p.m., task force members conducted a traffic stop in Hereford on a 2022 Toyota truck driven by 60-year-old Charles Wildry of Pace, Florida.

Wildry and his passenger, 42-year-old Myrtle Payne of Jacksonville, were arrested after “it was discovered that they were transporting eight undocumented immigrants,” according to the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. “Drugs and drug paraphernalia were located.”

Wildry and Payne were both charged with drug and paraphernalia possession.

“All subjects were turned over to US Border Patrol for processing,” deputies say.

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