Shadow Wolves: Tracking the Drug War

Shadow Wolves: Tracking the Drug War

The Tohono O’Odham Reservation, just west of Tucson, Arizona, is
the country’s second largest Indian reservation. The
Connecticut-sized tract of land, home to about 12,000 people, is
unique in that it includes some 70 miles of international border.
It’s also home to a special unit of the U.S. Customs Service, the
Shadow Wolves.

The Shadow Wolves, a unit of 19 American Indians, are small in
number, but remarkably effective, reports Shane DuBow in the
Tucson Weekly. The unit accounted for nearly a third
of all drugs seized by Arizona customs last year.

Many of the Wolves are former stand-out police officers and
soldiers, but mostly the Shadow Wolves credit their success to
their upbringing, which involved tracking livestock and hunting
game. ‘Anyone can be tracked,’ says one officer. ‘Even at night,
even over rocks.’

While Wolves have a cocksure attitude about their abilities for
stopping drug smugglers, the reservation remains a dramatic
reminder of their tenuous success. According to Shadow Wolves
officers, clinics in the Tohono O’Odham Reservation are packed with
addicts and the reservation is littered with trash, mostly from
smugglers and illegal aliens passing through.
–Kate Garsombke
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