Anti-illegal-immigrant activists were not involved in the April 8 murders of two border crossers south of Eloy, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department has concluded.
It appears that rival smugglers or bandits were responsible for the shootings, which happened just after 10:30 p.m. on Easter night, said Capt. Chris Nanos, head of the department’s criminal investigation division.
A group of about two dozen illegal immigrants was riding in a truck when at least two men, dressed in camouflage, appeared and yelled "Alto!" — "Stop" in Spanish — opened fire, then ran away, witnesses said. A Mexican man and a man who may be Guatemalan were killed.
Intelligence obtained by the sheriff's department suggests that people-smugglers took their truck full of border crossers off a route they normally use because of a Border Patrol checkpoint, Nanos said. Instead, they used a route more often used by drug smugglers, on another side of a mountain range, Nanos said.
It’s possible those responsible are simply “thugs” in the area, Nanos said.
“There’s nothing to indicate this is militia-related,” he said.