Famed Arizona Sheriff Sends Ominous Verbal Warning Shot to Armed Militias

Sheriff Joe Arpaio Warns Local Arizona Militia They Could Get Shot by Border PatrolThe Blaze – by Liz Klimas

PHOENIX (TheBlaze/AP) — Tough-talking Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is warning civilians who embark on armed patrols in remote desert terrain that they could end up with “30 rounds fired into” them by one of his deputies.

His unapologetically terse comments came Tuesday after a member of an Arizona Minuteman border-watch movement was arrested over the weekend for pointing a rifle at a Maricopa County sheriff’s deputy he apparently mistook for a drug smuggler.  

“If they continue this there could be some dead militia out there,” Arpaio said.

Richard Malley, 49, was heavily armed with two others dressed in camouflage Saturday night along Interstate 8 near Gila Bend, a known drug-trafficking corridor in the desert about 70 miles southwest of Phoenix, when he confronted the deputy who was on patrol conducting surveillance, authorities said.

According to court records, the deputy and his partner stopped their vehicle, then flashed their headlights and honked their horn, a common practice used by law enforcement to trick drug smugglers into thinking the car is there to transfer their narcotics load and lure them out of hiding.

The deputies then got out, also dressed in camouflage but clearly marked with sheriff’s patches on their clothing, and began to track what appeared to be fresh footprints, authorities said.

That’s when Malley emerged from the darkness with his rifle raised “yelling commands,” according to the probable cause statement.

The deputy, illuminated by Malley’s flashlight at this point, identified himself as law enforcement, pointing out the “word sheriff across his chest,” and ordered Malley to drop his weapon.

“You aren’t taking my weapons,” replied Malley, who was armed with a semi-automatic rifle, a .45 caliber handgun and a knife, according to court records.

Another deputy eventually arrived and arrested Malley for aggravated assault. He was released on $10,000 bail and is set for a court appearance on Aug. 26. It wasn’t clear if Malley had an attorney, and telephone numbers listed for him were disconnected.

Malley claimed “he had the right to point his rifle at the individual because he had reasonable suspicion to believe a crime was occurring,” according to the probable cause statement. He identified himself as a “militia Minuteman.”

Such Minuteman-type militias of armed civilians patrolling the deserts for illegal border crossers and smugglers grew to prominence in the early 2000s, but the organizations’ numbers have since dwindled as they fractured into multiple splinter groups, such as crews like Malley’s who were on patrol with just three armed men.

Arpaio, whose county doesn’t run along the border but has seen an increase in drug and human trafficking, warned there will be “chaos if you’re going to have private citizens dressed just like our deputies taking the law into their own hands.”

“I have to commend my deputy for not killing this person, which easily could have happened,” Arpaio said. “He’s lucky he didn’t see 30 rounds fired into him.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Andy Adame also expressed concern for the safety of both the militia members and Border Patrol agents.

Adame said the civilian groups could easily trigger remote sensors operated by Border Patrol to detect illegal crossers.

“And we respond to them in a manner where we expect to encounter illegal immigrants or drug traffickers,” he said. “We can encounter them (militia members) out in the middle of the desert, which may result in disastrous personal and public safety consequences.”

In short, he noted, someone could get shot and killed, either an agent or a civilian.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management too warned agents of the potential dangers of these militias.

“Basically, the overall point is they’re a major safety issue for federal rangers, for the public and for themselves,” BLM spokeswoman Pamela Mathis told the Arizona Republic.

Glenn Spencer, president of American Border Patrol, a civilian group which operates from a ranch along the Mexican border in southern Arizona, won’t condemn the actions of private armed militia organizations, but he also doesn’t recommend it.

“It’s a free country. They’re not violating any law. They’re not trespassing,” said Spencer, whose group uses technology, including sensors and unmanned aircraft rather than boots on the ground to monitor the border.

“But I wouldn’t do it, and I wouldn’t encourage anyone to do it,” Spencer added. “Going out there is dangerous.”

Even if they might not technically be breaking a law, the Arizona Republic reported vigilantes being cited for driving off road over protected wildlife and without headlights at night.

Earlier this month, Arpaio made headlines for arming officers with AR-15 rifles for safety after an employee of the detention center was shot and killed in his driveway.

Arpaio is well-known for his efforts to combat illegal immigration in the border state, but a couple months ago temporarily suspended his efforts after a judge ruled he had racially profiled Latinos.


14 thoughts on “Famed Arizona Sheriff Sends Ominous Verbal Warning Shot to Armed Militias

  1. ….perhaps if The Sheriff was doing something about all of the illegal, unconstitutional behavior being exhibited in his County…the people would not feel the need to patrol..? I agree with him as far as being lucky we didn’t end up with a couple of dead folks….but the people are not going to just sit around and watch their country stolen out from under them..as Good Ole’ Joe….goes around acting like he’s “The People’s Sheriff”…


    RJ O’Guillory
    Webster Groves – The Life of an Insane Family

    1. My thought exactly. Yeah, I’m stepping on somebody’s Icon. If the People’s Sheriff was doing the great job he says his Dept is doing, then the illegal border crossings would be dropping in his sector. I’ll bet he has more Pot arrests doing time in his tent city labor camps than he does illegals.

      I got a bad feeling about Sheriff Joe. I hope I’m wrong.

  2. He always seemed to be a bit to “Good To Be True”. A judge told him to cease,….a message was sent to him and a deputy shot…….what else is there to say,…he is a cop and he is now/or has always been bought.

    A real live walking talking Trojan Horse.

    As Digger so eloquently puts it,..”never trust a F’n Cop” !

    1. That is right oldvet – thanks by the way 🙂 – , “never trust a cop” on or off duty. related or not. Never ever trust a cop. Never used to be “so” bad, but the last 40 + yr.s or so and even further back ya cannot trust a damned cop. It is not Mayberry any more, sorry to say and Mayberry was from the 50`s early 60`s.

      1. If it was Mayberry, these Neo-Nazi Barney Fife’s would only have one bullet for their guns. Sheriff Andy wouldn’t be threatening to put 30rds into some Gomer Pyle.

    1. That is right cracker. He is a pig and I guess that his mother would have expected no less from this Arpaio commi F`er.

  3. “Arpaio, whose county doesn’t run along the border….”
    Then his deputy shouldn’t have been on the border.

    “He’s lucky he didn’t see 30 rounds fired into him.”
    I’m not sure who was lucky here. The deputy could have wound up with 30 rounds in him too.

  4. This will solve itself. Arpaios only supporters are militia and conservatives. Now that he is stabbing them in the back, Maricopa will have a new sheriff next time around.

    1. Yeah, Drutch… their just pissed because the militia got the draw on them first. There is no way that they should have arrested that guy. Once everyone identified themselves as sheriffs and militia they should have just stood down and talked. They had no right to dis-arm the guy… not out there!

      I live in Yuma County

  5. Oh, and I don’t think the militia is to fond of the good sheriff after he let J.D. Ready and his family get whacked and no one got arrested. It was a total hit on him and his family.

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