Lyle Robinson's Tres Bellotas Ranch sits in a cradle of hills right on the
Mexican border. It's a pretty place. Sprawling Mulberry trees shade the brick
house and oak trees--bellotas in Spanish--decorate the surrounding landscape.
This time of year, during the monsoon season, the oaks drop acorns that cowboys
and others working this land, 13 miles southwest of Arivaca, have prized as summer
snacks for centuries....
Everyone in America has a stake in what's happening on the Tres Bellotas.,,,
This is a place where all the rhetoric from the president and his government
about homeland security crumbles to pieces on the hot ground. The Tres Bellotas
is a battleground in the relentless, ugly, nonstop invasion of drugs and illegals
across our southern border.
openly, without fear of harassment, the two men walked from Mexican soil into
the United States through the wide-open international border gate 200 yards below
If they want air for their tire, you give it to them. If they want water, you're
better off handing it over, because if you say no, they may break a water line
to get it. If they want you to open the gate across the dirt road that runs between
your home and your horse corrals, you open it. Why fight it? If you refuse, they'll
just cut the lock.
Six months ago, Robinson looked out his window and saw something incredible--a
traffic jam on the Tres Bellotas, with 15 pickup trucks backed up at this second
gate, 150 feet from his house. The pickups sagged under the weight of the illegals
they carried, probably 20 in each, 300 in all....
Tom and Dena Kay, Robinson's nearest neighbors on the U.S. side, have five
miles of border with Mexico, and smugglers cut holes in their fence about every
The Border Patrol doesn't release a by-nation breakdown of those it arrests,
and the agency is particularly tight-lipped about arrests of special interest
aliens, known as SIAs. These are individuals from the list of about 35 countries
the U.S. considers terror threats. But the Weekly has obtained SIA arrest figures
from a federal law enforcement source who asked to remain anonymous.
From 2000 through 2003, plus the first nine months of fiscal 2004, agents in
the Tucson sector, and the Arizona office of the Yuma sector, arrested 132 SIAs.
The numbers include 10 from Afghanistan, seven from Iran, 12 from Yemen, 11 from
Pakistan and three from Iraq.
Using the common estimate that the Border Patrol only catches one out of every
three who cross, or as some believe, one of every five, we can calculate that
upward of 660 individuals from terror-threat nations have crossed into our country
Along the border south of Arivaca, you'd best stand back when you utter those
words, because the subject tends to make folks spitting mad. Even Robinson, a
silver-haired, soft-spoken gentleman, gets a fire in his eyes when he talks about
"It's a joke," says the 67-year-old, semi-retired veterinarian. "Homeland
security doesn't exist."...
One day in 2003, Robinson and one of his cowboys rode their horses to a hilltop
close to the house. To their shock, they saw an estimated 300 illegals congregated
in the draw below. The riders watched as the mob divided into groups of 30 apiece,
with one man, presumably a coyote, taking charge of each one as they prepared
to walk north....
From then until now, the smugglers have all but taken charge, hijacking a way
...To kill time during the long days,
they holler and fire off their weapons just for fun, filling the afternoon air
with the rat-tat-tat of gunfire and scaring Robinson's horses....
In one of these dumps, Robinson found a hat with an Islamic crescent on it,
and he rode up on a dead body, a young man, naked, a full water bottle right next
But it gets wilder still.
At 11:30 a.m. on April 22 this year, a Mexican helicopter landed in the Robinsons'
backyard. Arivaca resident R.D. Ayers had driven to the ranch that morning to
visit his injured dog, then under Dr. Robinson's care.
Ayers describes stepping outside the house to see what he describes as "a
military Huey-type helicopter" circling, at the same time that a truck from
the Tucson Fuel Co. was pulling into the yard. The Tres Bellotas gets its power
from diesel generators, and that fuel has to be delivered.
As he approached the chopper, Ayers says six men in black, commando-type uniforms
stepped out. Five had ski-type masks over their faces, and they wore body armor
and carried automatic rifles. On their sleeves, Ayers saw the word, Mexico.
They stood in a defensive posture around a sixth man, their leader, who identified
himself as a member of the Mexican police. He pointed aggressively to the fuel
truck and asked what it was doing there. Ayers, in Spanish, told the man he was
in the United States, not Mexico, and that he had no business in this country
and needed to leave.
But the commander refused to listen and began walking toward the truck, at
which point Ayers placed himself between the commander and the truck, again telling
him to scram. After a few minutes, the tense confrontation ended when the commander
ordered his troops into the chopper, and they split back across the border.
Ayers suspects that the Mexicans--one of Robinson's cowboys identified them
as federales, Mexican federal police--were escorting a drug shipment to Tucson,
and wanted to haul it in the fuel truck. Or they wanted to steal the fuel. The
chopper had followed the truck much of the way down Tres Bellotas Road.
"Men with fully automatic weapons and masks don't just show up to say
hello," says a still-outraged Ayers, owner of a backhoe company and a former
EMT in Arivaca. He added that if he'd had his gun, he might've fired on the invaders.
"I wasn't going to back down. This is my country."...
On Arivaca Road on July 9, the Border Patrol busted two members of the self-described
border-help group No More Deaths, alleging that they violated the law by transporting
"I invite all these so-called Samaritans to publish their home addresses
so the illegals can go to their homes and defecate on their property and pound
on their doors in the middle of the night and see how they like it."...
Dena was driving home along the Tres Bellotas when she turned a corner and
ran smack-dab into 15 pickup trucks stuffed with about 25 illegals each. They
were heading toward Arivaca and Interstate 19. When the lead truck saw Dena's
vehicle, the driver jammed the brakes, then all the trucks began making U-turns
on the narrow road, blocking her in....
On other occasions, the Kays have watched in astonishment as smuggler vehicles
have rolled past in broad daylight, packed with human cargo. In one case, they
saw a parade of pickup trucks with invaders sitting all around the edge of the
rear bed, their arms locked so they wouldn't fall off. More stood in the bed,
and they were packed in so tightly, it seemed impossible to breathe. Still more
were packed into the double cabs like a fraternity stunt.
The site provided a stunning visual lesson in the economics of people smuggling.
The Kays figure that each cab-and-a-half truck carried at least 50 people. According
to Border Patrol estimates, each illegal pays $1,500 for transportation north.
That's a grand total of $75,000 per truck. For, say, 15 trucks, that's a stunning
Everyone in America has a stake...