July 5, 2010

Instead of barbecuing with family or traveling for vacation, members of the Cochise County Militia are spending their holiday weekend staking out spots near the border to fight illegal immigration and drug smuggling.

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Trained militia members are patrolling various desert areas near Tombstone starting Saturday afternoon, hoping to spot illegal immigrants and drug traffickers who are making their way across the border.

“Certainly, I would rather be home barbecuing. My wife begged me not to come. But it’s something inside that I have to do,” said Arthur Tomlin, who is patrolling for the first time since the group started the tradition nearly a decade ago. “I’m not trying to paint a patriotic picture here. I am just concerned.”

Many members say they are filling a gap left by a federal government that has failed to address the problem of border crime and local governments that lack the resources and funding to attacking a growing problem.

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