Money Laundering, Mafia and Drug Cartel Accusations in Arizona’s Cattle Theft Scandal ⋆ Politicrossing
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Money Laundering, Mafia and Drug Cartel Accusations in Arizona’s Cattle Theft Scandal

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The cattle ranching industry in Arizona is being torn apart due to corruption and crime. It has split longtime cowboys against each other. Much of it comes down to cattle rustling that has been allowed to thrive, with close to 3,000 heads of cattle stolen from at least 32 owners over the past few years. There may also be money laundering connected to the Mafia and Mexican drug cartels.   

 

The corruption became so bad the Arizona Department of Agriculture tasked an investigator to look into it a few years ago. He gave the results of his investigation, known as “Operation Cow Posse,” to Judicial Watch in 2019 as the scandal escalated. Cattle ranchers told him the scandal went all the way to the Arizona Legislature. They claimed that a powerful lobbyist helped launder millions of dollars from Pinnacle West, the parent company of electric company Arizona Public Service, through cattle growers’ bank accounts. People working at the Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association said they found files going back to 2006 showing the bank transfers. 

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The investigator believes Pinnacle West wanted to pay off powerful people in the water industry, so they laundered the money through ACGA and its related entity, the Arizona Cattlemen’s Association, in order not to show the money coming directly from them. The investigator found over $10 million he says was laundered this way, and believes there were more incidents in the past. 

 

So far, little has been done, in part due to fear that the Mafia and Mexican drug cartels are involved, and in part due to corruption in government and law enforcement. 

 

But things may be changing, due to an email that Jacquelyn Hughes, the executive director of ACGA, sent to numerous people recently questioning the strange transfer of over $10 million. She said it was unusual that “ACGA, from 2016-2018 was taking in and spending anywhere from $60,000 – $100,000 per month. When you consider that ACGA’s primary source of revenue is membership dues and that our dues range from $75.00 – $450.00 per month, it is unclear both how ACGA came into this type of money and how it was spent. Even when considering annual convention revenue, the numbers do not add up.” 

 

The scandal has resulted in multiple ongoing lawsuits, with ACGA in the middle of it. Under the leadership of Jay Whetton, who was elected president in 2018, the organization’s structure changed in order to give regular members the ability to vote on leadership. This was done in response to accusations that the ACGA was run like a fraternity by country club cowboys who had ties to the Mafia and Mexican drug cartels. The change caused a deep division in the organization, with the old guard splitting off and forming their own group. The new executive committee forged ahead, and last August, held a meeting to discuss how the Mafia and Mexican drug cartels launder money in the cattle industry. 

Some of the cattle ranchers accused Emmett Sturgill, who was at the time first vice president of the ACGA and allegedly part of the old guard, of posting information from Operation Cow Posse, which included the names of 56 suspected cow thieves, on the internet in early November. At the same time, Sturgill accused them right back of posting the information and filed lawsuits against them. 

The ADA lost interest in the case, which some cattle ranchers believe was due to corruption, and so the investigator continued on his own, unpaid, for Judicial Watch. Sturgill and his allies attempted to retake control of the ACGA in early November but failed. The old guard objected to the investigation, complaining that it was not done by law enforcement. But the new leadership defended the investigation, saying the government and law enforcement were not doing anything about it. 

The Cattle Growers’ association in Mojave County resigned its affiliation with the ACGA in disgust at the continuous scandals, and prohibited Sturgil, who lives in the county, from being a member. 

 

The ADA issued a statement a few days ago defending its poor record on investigating cattle rustling, dismissing media reports by saying official reports of thefts weren’t filed.  Some of the old guard claim the accusations of cow theft are made up, because certain ranchers want to discredit the government from inspecting cattle and move to a system of private inspectors like they have in Mexico, where corruption is rampant. 

 

But if this was true, then why did well-known Arizona cowboy Milo DeWitt, who lost over 400 head of cattle to theft, ask for assistance from the FBI, county sheriff, brand board and brand inspectors (who are under the ADA), the ADA’s top investigator, Judicial Watch, and meet with investigators several times? Or what about attorney and judge Tom Kelly in Yavapai County, who lost over 100 cows with calves, and complained to two brand inspectors? It sounds like the ADA is mincing words. 

One cowboy characterized the problem this way, “Cattle growers in Arizona have no legitimate advocates in the state legislature because the industry is split down the middle; some people siding with the old guard, many of whom are corrupt, and some with the new guard, but the truth is most ranchers don’t really know the whole true story.” 

After months of infighting and dealing with lawsuits, the immediate-past president and the first vice president, who was in line to be the next president, resigned their positions and also their membership. The ACGA will be holding its annual election of leaders in a few days. The future of the organization does not look hopeful. One longtime cattle rancher says the situation is impossible to fix, the FBI needs to step in and arrest the bad people. The longtime previous executive director of ACGA, Patrick Bray, a relative of the powerful lobbyist, had access to the bank accounts. Perhaps he can explain what went on with the money.

 

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Rachel Alexander is a conservative political writer and pundit. She is the editor of Intellectual Conservative and a recovering attorney. She was ranked by Right Wing News as one of the 50 Best Conservative Columnists from 2011-2019.



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Elections

Joe Biden Bingo

Here is a tool which could help you to stay tuned on broadcasts featuring our acting president

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Even if you caught only snippets of Joe Biden’s recent press conference, you know that his mental decline continues unabated. It’s unlikely that even a handful of Americans watched the event in its entirety. Who would want to waste their time?

What’s occurring is a national travesty, and it is increasingly evident to larger portions of our population that Joe Biden is being abused as an elder, as he abuses others.

Throughout his 365 days in office, Biden has struggled to pronounce a word and then offers a non-sequitur to what he was originally saying. With regularity he tells stories that are simply false. He refers to his vice president as president. He insults vast segments of the population. He stumbles and stammers repeatedly. He checks his watch, fumbles with his mask, and snaps at people when he doesn’t like a question. And those are the least of his faux pas with audiences.

If you’re having trouble listening to Joe for more than a minute, the tool above might work for you. On the Facebook site, “Best of the Web,” I saw this Biden bingo card. It could help you to stay the course when tuned into other broadcasts featuring our acting president.

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Covid

China; Hidden Dragon, or Paper Tiger

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With all the ongoing issues in America today it might seem superfluous to worry about China. Between crime in the streets, the latest Covid variant, lock downs, forced vaccinations and corrupt at every level of government it might seem we have enough to worry about. But, what if it’s all related and part of a plan? What if we have always been at war with Eurasia but were never informed?

First let’s take a look at militarily how the opponents stack up.  On paper and in total dollars the USA outspends China by more than double. ($738 Billion Vs $252 billion). China has more than five times the number of citizens available for military service. Surprisingly at this time China and the USA are about equal in terms of ground forces equipment. (IE: Tanks, armored fighting vehicles, rockets)  It would appear that our air forces are about equal in numbers but we have double the number of helicopters and China has twice as many fighter aircraft as we do.  In sheer numbers China has the USA out classed in the naval department. America has more aircraft carriers by a factor of 5, but China holds the lead in fast attack frigates, corvettes and a slight lead in submarines.

As for nuclear weapons the USA has a total of 6,500 warheads but only 1,600 are currently deployed. China is a little harder to asses since they are not part of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and do not reveal the total numbers of weapons they have. (For reference Russia has 6,490 warheads down from 40,000 during the height of the cold war. Currently has 1,600 deployed)

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On paper it would seem the two super powers are evenly matched. But let’s not make the mistake most military generals do by fighting the last war. So much of their energy is studying the last conflict, the latest’s one always surprises them. (see Blitzkrieg).  Some of the more forward thinking realize the next war will be economic. Possibly combined with a cyber-attack. Today we are already seeing the probes of our technology driven economy. Most of these come from China. For a listing of these one only needs to go to the Center for Strategic International Studies. (CSIS).

In planning for a global conflict to come it seems the CCP is relying upon the oriental virtues of planning and patience, while the western world is into instant gratification. While the USA exports the virtues of multiculturalism and LGBTQ rights around the world the CCP is investing in roads, bridges, dams, ports and  infrastructure. By loaning money to developing nations at exorbitant rates and requiring Chinese labor and materials they are copying the colonial model sans the hospitals and schools.

Since 2013 China has been following a five year plan (China loves those five year plans) called the Belt and Road initiative. Interestingly announced during a visit to Kazakhstan. The goal is to build a Chinese centered international order. It is also known as the Silk Road Economic Belt, or the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The names are a nod to the historic trade routes to and from the western world to China, popularized by the travels of Marc Polo.  In 2019 a second Belt to road five year plan was instituted to quell the negative press and concentrate on a more “green and sustainable” era. As of 2020 140 of 193 countries and 32 international agencies have signed up.

For some of these countries the BRI turns into a debt trap. When they can’t pay up they are forced to turn over the very projects the Chinese financed. Uganda has turned over its international airport. Sri Lanka has handed over a large port. Djibouti is about to hand over another, adjacent to our largest port in Africa. Zambia is negotiating the turnover of their largest coper mine to help restructure their debt. In spite of all this other countries in South America are signing on to the BRI. Cuba has found another sugar daddy in the CCP’s initiative. Something to keep in mind all these project must follow the China’s National Defense law that mandates civilian infrastructure projects closely related to national defense shall meet national defense requirements and functions and must be surrendered for military use when needed.

North America is not immune to the prospect of “easy” money granted by the CCP. Canada has not signed on to the BRI but has welcomed Chinese investment on several fronts. Mostly in British Columbia and Bunavat. In the United States the CCP hasn’t been lending money but investing. Investing in politicians, Hollywood, Newspapers, News organizations and Colleges. They own internet companies like Tic-Tok, Riot Games, and We Chat. Brick and mortar companies like Smithfield, the Waldorf Astoria and Continental Aerospace Technologies. So much money is invested in American companies that you rarely see any criticism of the Communist countries policies. Global warming, China gets a pass, child labor laws, China need not apologize, slave labor, well what slave labor, and human rights abuses don’t see any there.

So what does it all mean to America and its citizens? As we move closer to China’s social credit system who will stand up and denounce it? The same politicians that accepted enough money to keep them in office? The news organizations that rely on CCP money to keep them afloat? Just look at how many objected to Covid being referred to as the China flu. Speaking of the China flu, what if it was released by China in an effort to destroy the economies of most nations and allow them to take control of strategic ports and airports around the world. Who would stand up if China decides that Taiwan could no longer be tolerated and will be annexed?

It would seem China is a paper Tiger. A paper tiger made of Yen. They have bought and paid for large sections of the United State economy. You could say the same for Europe.  China has ensured that every third world country that is rich in the resources owes a substantial portion of their gross domestic production to the CCP. You don’t need to be a dragon when you own all the paper.

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” – Sun Tzu

“The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.” – Sun Tzu

 

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