Portions of Arizona have become a hotbed of activity for Mexican cartel activity and human trafficking in recent years, but what was just discovered over the past week has sent the town of Tuscon into complete chaos.
Lewis Arthur is the founder of VOP (Veterans on Patrol), which is a group of good samaritans who search for homeless veterans in the area in order to provide assistance. They frequently patrol a 300 mile radius around Tuscon, searching washes and bridges for signs of homeless veterans in order to get these poor souls off the streets. But when Arthur and his team were patrolling several days ago following a tip they had received, they stumbled across what appeared to be human trafficking sex camp with some extremely disturbing items.
“The solar lights are what gave it away,” said Lewis Arthur according to local news KPLC. “If we hadn’t been walking on the right trail we would have never seen it, we would have walked right past it.”
The camp was found on Tuesday on May 29 near I-19 and Valencia. Arthur knew immediately it wasn’t just any normal homeless camp. They found a airline ticket of an American girl who was under 18, where the group confirmed with family members that the girl was in fact still missing. Among other items was hair dye, children’s toys, a stroller, pornographic material, and a bloody knife. Most disturbing of all, was harnesses attached to trees which the group believes to be “rape trees.”
“And we are right there and our city is right there, our children are right there and it’s not my problem if it’s not in my backyard,” said Arthur. “Now it’s in our backyard.”
The alarming discovery caught the attention of Tucson News, who investigated the area with Craig Sawyer and Jerry Peyton, a former Navy SEAL and Tucson firefighter, to get their thoughts on what this camp might have been.
“I didn’t expect to see something this heinous and inhumane this close,” Sawyer said. “I served in the military to keep things like this from happening here that’s why I risked my security, so nobody here would have to put up with this.”
“The cave the group found is about 5-feet high and at the end is a tire and a large water container. Even more disturbing is what was found inside the container – a dresser and two crates. It was not big enough for an adult, but a child could easily fit inside,” KPLC reported.
“I have heard of rooms full of kids in houses and basements and things like that, but nothing underground like this, like an underground cell that’s pretty creepy,” Sawyer said.
He went on to say that the camp was occupied 10 days ago, and believes that someone will come back, as someone was in the process of digging another hole, perhaps to keep sex slaves confined.
“In fact there’s another one nearby that they found that they are already digging with fresh tools and fresh dirt,” Sawyer said.
“We were told Tucson Police Department investigators were out to the camp recently to take photos and write a report.”
Other items found, according to journalist Heather Briggs, who has direct contact with members of the group, included “panties, bloody knife, saw, condoms, syringes, and medical gloves.”
Briggs said that a lot of the videos and pictures that had been collected as evidence by the group were being immediately removed from Facebook. The group found out that the Mexican-owned company Cemex was renting the land in order to dump concrete waste, but there was no signs of any type of concrete waste being discarded.
The group isn’t getting much help from local law enforcement, and the local sheriff arrested 2 members of Arthur’s team for trespassing, even though the men were on the access road, and not even on the property at the time. What’s even more disturbing, is that an unnamed man shot 4 rounds at Arthur’s team while they were investigating, and they haven’t been able to locate the shooter.
Even more suspicious, is the man on horseback who rode up a couple days ago, who was quoted as saying, “I dug that hole and I want my tools and my pix ax back.”
According to Briggs, Arthur got a call from an unnamed source in Washington D.C., who demanded they stop their investigation, saying that his investigators were tracking a high-ranking cartel member in the area.
Arthur has handed over most of the evidence his team collected to the local police department, and is currently trying to persuade the department to bring cadaver dogs to investigate what he believes to be shallow graves.
Below is VOP founder Lewis Arthur describing in full detail what his team discovered. You can find more information about the incident on the group’s Facebook page here.