U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Congresswoman Martha McSally (R-AZ) today introduced in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, respectively, theTransnational Criminal Organization Illicit Spotter Prevention and Elimination Act, legislation that would enhance penalties for “spotters” who transmit information about the position or surveillance efforts of the U.S. Border Patrol or destroy border controls by increasing fines and imposing a maximum prison time of 10 years.
“All across southern Arizona, so-called ‘spotters’ can be seen sitting on mountains directing drug cartels and human traffickers as they attempt to skirt our laws and illegally cross over the U.S.-Mexico border,” said Senator McCain. “Our legislation would help to dismantle a central part of these cartels’ communications and logistics networks by providing enhanced penalties for spotters. I thank Congresswoman McSally for her leadership on this issue in the House, and I am pleased to be working together to secure the border and protect Arizona communities.”
“Since taking office, I’ve made it a top priority to improve our border strategy and make our communities safer, and that’s exactly what this legislation will do,” said Congresswoman McSally. “During multiple trips to the border, I’ve seen where these spotters operate from and heard frustrations from ranchers and Border Patrol about the lack of consequences and penalties spotters face. Stricter penalties will prevent experienced spotters who are caught from quickly returning to action and deter many others from joining a criminal cartel operation, degrading their ability to circumvent our border controls.”
Tucson Sector Border Patrol Chief Manuel Padilla Jr. and Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels also praised the legislation:
“Stopping traffickers takes a multifaceted approach that involves degrading their ability to move and communicate,” said Chief Padilla. “We need to make sure that after we catch them, spotters don’t end up right back at their posts, and this bill makes the positive step of helping stop and deter these activities.”
“Any time we can strengthen consequences for those who jeopardize our residents’ safety, that’s a good thing,” said Sheriff Dannels. “I’m glad to see efforts being made by our Members of Congress to take spotters out of action for good and improve security along our border.”
Arizona Representatives Trent Franks (R-AZ), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Matt Salmon (R-AZ), David Schweikert (R-AZ) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) also cosponsored the legislation.