9 On Your Side Border Watch
Two police officers killed in Nogales, Sonora renew fears violence could spill over
Reporter: Steve Nuñez
NOGALES, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Two Mexican police officers including the Deputy Police Chief of Nogales, Sonora were murdered by members of a drug cartel more than a week ago. Their bodies were found in the small town of Imuris, 40 miles south of Nogales. For border residents, news of these latest killings have renewed fears that the cartel violence could soon spill over into the U.S.
Maria Arana lives just yards from the border fence. Speaking Spanish, Arana told us she's afraid bullets will soon fly on this side of the fence.
Mexican authorities reportedly arrested 9 suspects, all members of a drug cartel, for murdering Sonora's Deputy Chief, 35-year old Raul Suarez Gabriel and a state police officer.
It's the second high ranking police officer killed in Nogales, Sonora in less than two years.
9 On Your Side Reporter Steve Nuñez talked to a Sonora police officer who was standing on the other side of the new border fence. He did not want us to show his face on camera. Still, he confirmed the murders and told us he feared for his life but had a job to do.
We wanted to know why police officers in Nogales, Arizona are also under heightened alert.
According to Assistant Police Chief Roy Bermudez, there's always a potential threat for officers when patrolling the border.
"Every single day our officer's come to work we're on heightened alert," said Bermudez.
Nuñez asked: "Is there any reason to believe right now that Nogales, Arizona officers would be targeted?"
Bermudez said, "I think that's on a daily basis that's our train of thought. That's why we haven't gotten hurt up to now because we're really aware of our surroundings and the possibility that could happen.
But as far as violent crime goes, Bermudez said Nogales is one of the safest cities in America.
"There have been four murders in the last ten years and two were domestic violence," said Bermudez.
Bermudez points to the fact local, state and federal officers including Border Patrol and Arizona National Guardsmen are constantly patrolling the border.
Arana agrees she's safe on this side of the fence but said there's still a real perception that the bloodshed in Mexico is never really far away.
Nogales police tell us they only work with Mexico state police. They confirmed they have a trusted liaison who provides them with intelligence that's proven to be credible over the years.