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'Private Police Force' to arrest "illegals."

by JOSE CARVAJAL Monday, Aug. 14, 2006 at 1:25 PM
jcarvajal@californian.com

LA CRESTA -- Fed up with what it says is a failure on the part of authorities to act on the area's illegal immigrant problem, a group purporting to be residents of the affluent, sprawling and isolated La Cresta, Tenaja and Santa Rosa communities is vowing to take matters into its own hands.

LA CRESTA -- Fed up with what it says is a failure on the part of authorities to act on the area's illegal immigrant problem, a group purporting to be residents of the affluent, sprawling and isolated La Cresta, Tenaja and Santa Rosa communities is vowing to take matters into its own hands.

A group calling itself Private Police Force announced last week on a new Web site that it will begin doing the job U.S. Border Patrol and the Riverside County Sheriff's Department aren't doing by conducting citizens' arrests on illegal immigrants and detaining them.

If it follows through on its promise, the group would be taking things further than other anti-illegal immigration groups, such as The Minutemen Project, which have previously deployed their members to monitor the U.S.-Mexico border and only report illegal immigrant sightings.

The Private Police Force is threatening to actually detain illegal immigrants.

"They will be handcuffed to the Oak Trees," according to the group's Web site, so they can be picked up by authorities.

"Don't treat this website lightly," the group states. "We will make Citizens Arrests on Illegal Aliens. We will File Criminal and Civil Complaints if you Hire or House an Illegal. If you have sold a vehicle to an illegal, we will prosecute you under the DMV law too. If you house an illegal, we will also prosecute you under the Zoning Laws."

Wendy Lee, a San Diego-based spokeswoman for the U.S. Border Patrol, defended the job her agency has done in the area. The La Cresta-Tenaja-Santa Rosa area is handled by the agency's Murrieta station, she said, and it has done a good job of both being proactive and being responsive when individuals come to the station with tips.

In this case, that isn't happening, she said Tuesday.

"We haven't had a complaint from the community around (Murrieta) stating there is a problem there," Lee said. "We haven't had any reports that I know of. ... If they want to report it to us, we will take care of it."

When asked whether the Private Police Force group could legally conduct citizens' arrests, Lee said she did not have an answer. If the group is found to be violating the rights of individuals, she said, it will have to answer for that.

"This is a free country," Lee said. "They will have to face authorities."

Though it states it is prepared to identify those in the community sympathetic to illegal immigrants, the group ---- which launched its Web site through an anonymous Internet-hosting company ---- is not yet identifying any of its own members.

The names and photos of those who oppose the group's efforts will be posted on the Web site, http://www.privatepoliceforce.com, according to a statement on the site. The names and photos of known illegal-immigrant workers will also be posted, the statement says.

Also, arrests will be recorded on video and offered for viewing on the Web site, the group states.

The only information provided on the site about the group's members is that "We have three lawyers and several regular police officers who have pledged private investigation time in our area," and that the group would be hiring "a few security professionals."

Requests for interviews through the group's e-mail address were not returned this week.

According to the group's statement, "Many Mexican illegals are stealing from many residents on the Santa Rosa Plateau, including La Cresta, Tenaja and the surrounding communities." The immigrants camp in the nearby canyons and other areas and are employed by homeowners in the community, the statement says.

Many of them have escaped or have been released from Mexican jails and have lengthy criminal records that include child molestation, rape and murder, according to the statement.

Proof is not offered to support any of those claims.

Longtime La Cresta resident Vicki Long said Tuesday that the area has had its share of problems with illegal immigrants over the years. Though she said she is not aware what the situation is now, Long said there was a time several years ago when illegal immigrants would deal drugs and fire guns from a camp near her property.

The group and its Web site, she said, are an indication that it is probably still a problem.

"I just question why they're having to do that when we've got other agencies that should be handling the problem," Long said. "We pay our taxes for that sort of thing. I don't know why law enforcement isn't helping these people. They sound quite desperate."

Though the group echoes some of the things Long said about the illegal immigrant problem in the area on its Web site, it does so with much more inflammatory language.

In a section of the Web site ---- which appears professionally done and features photos of police officers, barbed wire and a set of hands cuffed behind someone's back ---- titled "How to Recognize an Illegal/Thief," the group offers several tips.

Among the things to look for, it states, are "If they carry a short garden hose, used to siphon gas from your car at night" and "If they carry their lunch in a plastic bag composed of stolen oranges and burritos."

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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 15 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
illegals planning a rally c831 Monday, Aug. 14, 2006 at 11:38 PM
Love it Fredric L. Rice Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2006 at 8:38 AM
Um, yeah Fredric L. Rice Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2006 at 1:44 PM
You're conveniently forgetting about the **LAPD** klansmen and Nazis TW Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2006 at 3:16 PM
WHITETRASH WHITETRASH Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2006 at 4:00 PM
mm, yeah, seewutchoomean TW Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2006 at 4:08 PM
Another one TW Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2006 at 4:24 PM
Laugh Fredric L. Rice Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2006 at 6:45 AM

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