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Wednesday, June 24, 2009
By Glenn Spencer -- American Border Patrol
June 22, 2009
About ten o’clock on the morning of June 12, I was at my computer working on the Operation B.E.E.F. final report when suddenly someone appeared behind me. It was Shawn Forde, the “Minuteman activist.” She had not called for an appointment but merely showed up at American Border Patrol’s front door (and my home) and was let in.
Being a polite person, I spoke with her, even though last summer I told American Border Patrol employees that, due to her strange behavior, she was no longer welcome at the ranch.
Sitting down at my desk, Forde told me she was setting up an organization to put unemployed veterans to work protecting the border. Knowing that this was ridiculous, I quickly ended the conversation and excused myself. Forde asked if she could use our family room to do some work on her laptop. She stayed about twenty minutes and left.
I still don’t know why Shawna Forde suddenly appeared at my front door, but I am sorry she did.
As she left she asked if she could return the next day and retrieve something she left in the RV. I said OK. (Last summer I let Forde and her daughter use ABP’s RV for about a week.)
With the exception of allowing her to use our RV, I have never had any dealings with Shawna Forde. She has never participated in any of ABP’s border work and none of our people have participated in any Minuteman border operation, including those involving Shawna Forde.
Shortly after Forde left, Waste Management called and said they couldn’t pick up our trash as the FBI the road leading to my house blocked. (11:00am) I jumped on an ATV and drove to the end of the road where I saw a number of vehicles and people who appeared to be law enforcement. I asked if their activities had anything to do with the border and they said no. I returned home and called the Sierra Vista Herald to report the activity. I spoke with reporter Bill Hess, whom I have known for years, and explained the situation. He said he would look into it. That was about 11:30 a.m.
About 12:30 p.m. I left to go into Sierra Vista to do some shopping. I drove my Hummer and waived as I passed the “FBI” people who were still at the north end of my road - they waived back.
On the way home I was just pulling onto my road where the “FBI” people were when I encountered Melissa Jaramillo, my office manager ,who was just leaving. It was a little after 3 p.m., the end of Melissa’s workday. She pointed out that one of the cars on the road looked like it belonged to Shawna Forde. I confirmed this and took a picture of the vehicle (the brown SUV).
Upon arriving home I called Bill Hess of the Herald and told him what had happened. He asked about Shawna. I told him she was a very strange. He said there were a lot of strange people in Sierra Vista. I amplified by saying she was a braggadocio and had claimed that she had visited drug hideouts north of the border. He said it was unlikely drug smugglers would be hanging out with Minutemen and that they would know who she was. I agreed. He said he would pass the information along.
About 5:30 p.m. I was in my yard, playing ball with my German Shepherds when two sheriff deputies arrived. They said that others would be arriving and that they had a warrant to search my home. They said that Shawna Forde had been arrested for murder. I was handed a copy of the warrant.
Shortly thereafter more officers arrived and then came an armored vehicle loaded with a SWAT team. As I was kept to one side the SWAT team entered my home and a search began. I was approached by a Sheriff deputy who said Forde had murdered two people. I corrected him, saying “you mean she is suspected of murdering two people.” He said, no, she murdered them.
I was then interviewed by a female detective from Pima County. We talked for about twenty minutes and I told her all I knew about Shawna Forde. I told her I had very little to do with Forde and that I had told my associates that we should have little to do with her. I told the detective I had heard from others that Forde had bragged about visiting a drug smugglers hide out inside the U.S. I also said I was concerned because of the way Shawna dealt with her daughter, then under eighteen years old, or so I was told.
I told the detective that the deputy who said she had committed the murders was not very professional. She said he was only human.
They finished the search of my home and apparently found nothing that bothered them as they took nothing. After a quick search of ABP’s RV, they all left.
American Border Patrol stopped using volunteers for border work five years ago. We now concentrate on the use of high technology and aerial surveillance.
This is an object lesson about understanding with whom you are dealing in the border volunteer effort. This is why I urged the Minutemen to do background checks on everyone they signed on. They did, which is one of the reasons I allowed Forde and her daughter to use the RV – I thought they had done a background check on her.
PS – Earlier today I learned from a reporter based in Washington State that the FBI was tracking Shawna as she used her laptop to send e-mails over her cell phone Internet link. She sent an email from ABP’s headquarters and this may explain why they arrested her as she left our headquarters.