Here is an excerpt from Brady McCombs' article in the Arizona Daily Star:
"The killing of a Southern Arizona rancher that sparked an outcry to secure the border was not random, and investigators are focusing on a suspect in the United States, the Arizona Daily Star has learned. High-ranking government officials with credible information...said Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever is investigating a person in the United States, not in Mexico, in connection with the shooting... Krentz was found gunned down on his ranch northeast of Douglas a day after his brother reported drug-smuggling activity to the Border Patrol that led to the seizure of 290 pounds of marijuana and the arrest of eight people on the ranch. The night of the killing, officers followed a single set of footprints to the U.S.-Mexico border. That sparked widespread speculation that Krentz was killed by an illegal immigrant or a drug smuggler from Mexico... Forty-eight hours after the killing, Dever told reporters that investigators believed the shooting was carried out by one person, but that they didn't know if it was a man or a woman, or the person's nationality. But Dever said they had reports that Krentz made reference to an "illegal alien" over a two-way radio he used to communicate with his brother while working that day on the southern part of their ranch... The Southeastern Arizona valley where Krentz was killed is a heavily trafficked people- and drug-smuggling corridor that has seen an increase in burglaries in recent years. Sheriff's investigators and most residents believe the crimes are being committed by drug smugglers heading back to Mexico." Link to Full Article
Analysis: I've received a LOT of questions by email on this incident in the last couple of weeks, and my response has typically been that it's hard to speculate too much because, to date, no one really knows what happened to Krentz. I also make it a point to not typically comment on illegal immigration stories because (a) it detracts from my focus on different border violence issues, and (b) it's just way too controversial and I'm a conflict-avoider.
So what makes this story different, that's making me want to write a blog post on it? Two things, specifically. First, I feel a very strong need to remind people that no one, including investigators and the press, know exactly what happened to Krentz. The only facts anyone has is that (a) Krentz is dead, and (b) Krentz was shot. Speculation ranges from the killer being an illegal immigrant (which many think led to the current controversial law in Arizona), to a contract assassin who specifically targeted Krentz, to a drug dealer who Krentz stumbled across while he was transporting a load. Before anyone gets screwed into the ceiling over this, wait to find out all the facts.
Second, this statement by Sheriff Devers really makes me mad, but not for the reasons you might think: "We cannot sit by while our citizens are terrorized, robbed and murdered by ruthless and desperate people who enter our country illegally."
To provide some much-needed perspective, I have to remind him and readers alike that we have been dealing with this behavior by violent gang members for years. And now he - and others - want to get mad about it? Members of brutal gangs like the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) have been in the US for decades, killing each other and innocent bystanders in drive-bys in large cities and small towns alike. A good chunk of MS-13 members are here in the US illegally, and have been (again) for decades. They get busted for criminal activity, go back to El Salvador (big point - they aren't Mexican), then come back illegally to commit more crimes. I just have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that the media and politicians alike are making this story into such a huge and controversial deal when (a) we don't even know who killed this rancher, and (b) our citizens have been terrorized, robbed, and murdered by gang members who have been here illegally (in 33 US states, I might add) for decades.
I'm not naïve enough to ignore the fact that this story comes at a crucial time in the immigration debate, and people on both sides of the aisle will use this poor rancher's memory however they see fit to suit their agendas. Just remember that we have some serious gang violence issues across this entire country that are much more serious - and very much connected to the Mexican drug trade - that shouldn't be ignored or forgotten.