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April 29th, 2010
05:13 PM ET

Reporter's Notebook: "Murder on the border"

Randi Kaye | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Program Note: Watch Randi's full report tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

We are on our way to cover the story of the Arizona rancher police say was killed by illegal immigrants, drug smugglers who Sheriff Larry Dever says crossed the US/Mexico border illegally and worked their way through the San Bernardino Wildlife Refuge, which is federal land. The victim in this case, cattle rancher Rob Krentz, owned 35,000 acres of land that butted up to that wildlife refuge.
His ranch is in the middle of nowhere. We flew 6 hours to get to Arizona and then drove another 3 hours or so to the tiny (supposedly haunted) town of Bisbee, AZ.

It’s a mining town that’s also a big artist’s community and spent the night at a small bed and breakfast. Get this, we checked in at the bar downstairs with the bartender, have never done that before in all my years of working as a reporter! It was pretty funny. That’s Bisbee. The town feels very European because there is so much stonework and it is so hilly. It’s built right into the mountain. You should try to find it on the map. It’s about 3 hours south of Tucson.

We drove through Tombstone, Arizona as well on the way. That’s the site of the famous OK Corral gun battle. And now we are finally making our way to Douglas, AZ this morning where the rancher’s farm is. His wife still lives there. In fact, she wrote a letter to Congress in 2007 saying they feared for their lives and something needed to be done so they could be protected from the illegal immigrants smuggling drugs across their land.

Krentz was shot, along with his dog, while he was out working the cattle on his land. His family has been ranching here for 100 years and the sheriff told me a rancher hasn’t been killed here in at least 40 years. But Sheriff Dever wasn’t truly surprised. He said this was predictable. He said they just don’t have enough manpower to prevent those who want to cross the border from doing so. He also told me he doesn’t think the new Arizona immigration law is going to have much of an impact in this area because the illegal immigrants the law seems to be targeting are the day laborers. He said the drug smugglers come in, drop their loads of marijuana, and get out… often robbing some folks on the way back south.

He hopes it deters them a bit but these are not the people looking to make a life in this community, so new law or not, they still need to be stopped. We’ll be spending some time with a rancher today who knew Rob Krentz. We’ll see what he’s doing to protect himself and his family in light of this awful murder.

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Shirley

    Go Arizona!!! This should have been done in California a long time ago. The illegal immigrants are breaking the law - pure and simple!! If they want to come here, do it the right way like a lot of others have done before them.

    April 29, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  2. Guest

    I am not sure if some of the reader can really read! Sheriff saying **He said the drug smugglers come in, drop their loads of marijuana, and get out** MEANING not all the illegals here are criminals they broke the immigration law but they are not criminal **
    Learn to distinguish between the words**
    As for smugglers who come and do the crime and run cross the border are the real criminal,

    April 29, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  3. Ben

    We need to close that border and start identifying who is coming and going. That's the only way we can stop these poeple. I understand that day laborers are mostly not the ones murdering poeple, but it doesn't help when we don't know who is here legally and who is not.

    April 29, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
  4. Brent

    I don't live in a border State, but I can't get past the first word describing the immigrants- illegal...

    April 29, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
  5. pjmellon

    We're fighting "the war on terror" yet the Federal government leaves the border wide open. What's wrong with that picture? The people of the Arizona Republic have spoken.

    Godspeed Arizona!

    April 29, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
  6. Daniel K.

    You can't blame an entire community of immigrants based on the acts of a few.
    It's like saying that all those ranchers are killers just because a few of them had actually killed immigrants for stepping on their properties.

    April 29, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  7. Gene Thomas

    It's about time someone has done something about illegal immigration. Way overdue. Thanks Arizona!

    April 29, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  8. Crimsen

    Whether the accused murderer(s) had a legal right to be in the states or not, do you honestly think they would have acted any differently given their chosen profession in life... ? I don't think a green card would have made them think twice about pulling the trigger.

    April 29, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
  9. Owen

    When it comes to the Hispanic vote or protecting citizens who are most likely Republican I think I know which way the President is going to go.

    April 29, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
  10. Andy

    When are people going to see that illegal means you are braking the law. We need to do something. Feds have let us down again. When will they see that you should protect the legal folks first.

    April 29, 2010 at 11:17 am |