TUCSON, Ariz. - A furor has intensified on social media over a secluded spot off I-19 that some believe could be an abandoned camp used for human trafficking.
KGUN9 has been following a documentary crew traversing the country to expose the dark side of human trafficking -- their film is titled "Contraland". It's headed by Craig "Sawman" Sawyer, a former elite member of Navy Seal Team 6, who lives in Pima County. His crew consisted this time of a former Navy Seal colleague and a former CIA member.
They were notified by a homeless advocacy group about a camp at an abandoned cement plant that appeared suspicious and on Saturday they spent hours examining the site.
Just yards from the cement tower -- a stark difference in vegetation that could be a haven for the homeless or those in hiding.
It's a secluded spot -- hidden in plain sight -- not far from I-19.
The "Contraland" documentary crew sifted through the dusty and seemingly discarded items. They found Barbie dolls, clothing, tubes of sex lubrication, and suitcases filled with porn magazines.
Sawyer said, "What we found is a tree that looks like a rape tree -- with a bunch of shielding visually and there's all manner of straps and fabric and numerous way to lash something to these trees all in here."
But it's an 8-inch piece of wood strapped to a tree that is the most chilling sight for Sawyer.
"This part of the bark is much more smooth than the rest of the bark on the trees. There's again numerous strapping devices. This is a coax cable where it looks like someone can screw and put it around someone. This may have been a place where a child was made to hold on to this," Sawyer said.
"Frank" is a former Navy Seal and has seen many smugglers dens -- some used for human trafficking.
"The signs point towards that -- I can't say for sure if this is a smuggling den, but when you see things and look around -- just take a look at the cover that goes to the septic tank," he said.
The tank seemingly used as an underground bunker.
He said, "Those are signs. Why would you have the top set up, so you place the top over it after anyone was in there?"
"That sewage container has got a little girls earring, a fork, lucky charms -- there should be DNA all over in there. There was a chain with a lock found inside that container," said Sawyer.
"You've got hair dye. You've got makeup down in that hole. Is there some woman vacationing down here dyeing her hair and doing her makeup. Come on, really?" said "Frank".
His crew is convinced now that the site needs to be thoroughly investigated.
Cavazos: They're telling you what? Sawyer: They're telling me this looks like a child rape camp. That's what they're telling me. Frank has been to Africa, and it looks like part of a rat line and trafficking route where they lay up and do what they do and then move on. Joe is a federal criminal investigator as well. He concurs.
Sawyer says he plans to call the FBI to investigate the camp.
Tucson Police say they have been out there multiple times and it appears to be an abandoned homeless camp or just an abandoned camp. However, they told us Sunday night that they are still investigating.
ICE released this statement to KGUN9 Tuesday:
Special agents with ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Tucson became aware of this alleged report several days ago. We conducted a thorough search of the area in coordination with local law enforcement and found there is nothing there that would validate the report.