Desert scenery includes phony corpse, Minuteman says
Flying his Cessna 150 over Arizona, Jeff Kropf thought he saw a body down below.
Upon closer inspection by people on the ground an hour and a half later, it turned out to be a dummy decked out in clothes, tennis shoes, stocking cap and gloves and arranged to look like somebody passed out face-down in the desert. Kropf thinks it might have been intended as a diversion to keep searchers busy.
The Oregon legislator, whose House District 17 includes Lebanon and Sweet Home, reported on the fake body and other incidents in a telephone interview Friday night from Three Points, Ariz., a small town and gas stop where Kropf says he goes to make phone calls. Cell phone coverage is no good on the nearby ranch where he and other members of the Minuteman Project have been watching for illegal aliens for the past week.
Among other adventures related by Kropf:
• The Minutemen he was with checked a huge pile of old clothes and other things left behind in the desert. They found a 2006 day planner in which the owner, apparently a migrant-smuggling “coyote,” detailed his business including lists of people being transported. It was translated by one of the Minutemen, a Mexican-American.
• In his plane, Kropf came to the aid of a Border Patrol helicopter, keeping an eye on a group of illegals, when the chopper was running low on fuel and had to leave. The Border Patrol radioed their thanks when they returned after refueling.
• Thursday night, the Minutemen had spotted five groups totaling about 40 migrants and called them in to the Border Patrol. “They didn’t respond,” Kropf said. “They were so overloaded.”
• Also Thursday Kropf “got my eyes on” two men down below, whom he reported and the Border Patrol picked up. He thinks they were the rest of a group of 14, 12 of whom had been picked up the day before.
Kropf has been flying with different spotters. One of them is Carmen — the Minutemen don’t give out last names — a German immigrant to the United States and one of the original founders of the Minuteman Project in that area.
“I wish every congressman and senator could come down here and see this,” Kropf said. “They would build that wall. That’s the only way to stop this.”
Friday evening he could not fly because of stormy weather.
He took his plane to Arizona April 9 and planned to help patrol a patch of the state for a week before returning to Oregon.
I met him when I was working on a watershed project. Nice guy. He also does a radio talk show.
Yup, Saturday and Sunday mornings. He's one of the good guys. We have very few in Oregon...