Pinal County forms new anti-drug cartel posse

FLORENCE, AZ - More eyes, ears and guns are headed to the border battle to take on the Mexican drug cartels.       

The Pinal County Sheriff's Office announced the formation of a new "anti-smuggling" posse, Wednesday. A number of their experienced volunteer posse members are being specially trained for an anti-smuggling task force.

Sheriff Paul Babeu announced the posse would be armed with weapons and work with SWAT teams. Their mission will be to catch drug cartel members and seize their drugs and weapons as they patrol.

Sheriff Babeu says this task force is all about damaging the cartels.

"The message to them is, ‘We will do everything in our power in Pinal County to stop you in Pinal County so you do not get into Metro Phoenix, and other parts of America,' " Babeu said in a press conference.

With not nearly enough money or resources to stop the Mexican drug cartels on their own, the sheriff's office, with the help of District 5 state Senator Sylvia Allen (R), recruited a number of former military personnel and law enforcement officers. They will make up the posse.

The members will be armed with semi-automatic rifles and advanced tracking gear. When under the supervision of other deputies, the posse members will also have the authority to make arrests.

Kevin Taylor is the man running to take the sheriff's badge away from Babeu in the upcoming election. He told ABC15 he smells a last-minute political stunt.

"There are 25 days, give or take, before the election and this is just now coming out? Ludicrous," Taylor said. "It should've been done, and the sheriff should have taken that responsibility two years ago."

The sheriff's office says their posse volunteers have already begun some of their training. Whether or not they have an impact on the safety and security of Arizona will have to wait to be seen.

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