Ranch Rescue


Ranch Rescue

Ranch Rescue is a volunteer organization that assists ranchers and owners of property near the United States-Mexico border in the protection of their property. The organization claims that the protection is necessary due to damages caused by unauthorized border crossers, which it characterizes as terrorists. It also claims that the government has willfully and intentionally failed to protect property owners.

Ranch Rescue has chapters in the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Kentucky, New Mexico, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia.

On its website, which has since gone off-line, Ranch Rescue featured links to news articles and opinion pieces regarding the U.S.-Mexico border.

Generally, Ranch Rescue operates on private property at the behest of owners. When a landowner requests protection from the organization, Ranch Rescue operatives set up a military-style operation on the property and term it as such. They use electronic surveillance equipment, binoculars, flares, two-way radios, trained dogs, and firearms and other weapons.

One such measure, an operation at Sutton Ranch in Jim Hogg County, Texas, was termed "Operation Falcon". On March 18, 2003, Fatima Del Socorro Leiva Medina and Edwin Alfredo Mancia Gonzales, illegal immigrants from El Salvador, alleged they were chased, detained, threatened, robbed and assaulted by Ranch Rescue operatives after being caught trespassing on the property. One operative, Henry Mark Conner, aimed a rifle at Leiva and Mancia during the incident. He and Casey James Nethercott, another operative, were indicted on charges of aggravated assault and unlawful restraint. Nethercott was additionally indicted on charges of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.

Subsequent to the attacks, Leiva and Mancia sued the Texas chapter of Ranch Rescue. They were represented by attorneys from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, among others. They sued for damages relating to their physical injuries and emotional distress.

The judge in the case ruled in their favor. Joseph Sutton settled for $100,000, but neither Nethercott nor Ranch Rescue leader Jack Foote defended themselves in court. Nethercott was ordered to pay a default settlement of $850,000. Unable to pay the settlement, Nethercott was ordered to surrender his only asset —a 70-acre ranch near the Arizona-Sonora border. Morris Dees of the SPLC called the ruling "poetic justice."

ee also

*American Patrol Report
*Minuteman Project
*Save Our State

References

* [http://www.ranchrescue.com www.ranchrescue.com]
* [http://www.splcenter.org/legal/docket/files.jsp?cdrID=44&sortID=0 "Leiva v. Ranch Rescue"] from the Southern Poverty Law Center
* [http://www.splcenter.org/pdf/dynamic/legal/leiva_v_ranch_4th_am_pet.pdf Complaint against Texas Ranch Rescue et al.]
* [http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/19/national/19ranch.html?pagewanted=1&ei=5070&en=4d37fa6975acddf6&ex=1153281600 "2 Illegal Immigrants Win Arizona Ranch in Court"] , "New York Times", August 19, 2005. Accessed 2006-07-17


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