Roger Barnett has had his house broken into, trucks stolen, cattle killed and property damaged by illegal immigrants crossing the border via his 22,000-acre Arizona ranch and in 1998, he decided enough was enough.
So he began rounding them up at gunpoint and turning them over to the U.S. Border Patrol. Barnett claims to have captured around 12,000 illegal immigrants attempting to cross his property – a spot along the border that authorities have deemed “an avenue of choice” – into the United States since then.
Astonishingly, 16 of those illegally immigrants are now suing Barnett for $32 million in punitive damages for civil rights violations and emotional distress among other crimes.
The particular incident involved in the suit occurred on March 7, 2004 when Barnett held the five women and 11 men at gunpoint, threatening to turn his dog lose on them and shoot anyone who tried to escape.
According to attorneys representing the illegals through the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Barnett kicked one of the women and threatened them in English and Spanish, at one point shouting “my dog is hungry and he’s hungry for buttocks.”
What a threat. The 16 must have been horrified that the dog was actually going to eat their butts.
When he first began his campaign to hunt down the illegal immigrants literally trashing his property, he began carrying guns for protection against often armed drug smugglers. He has spent over $30,000 on electronic sensors hidden along the trails on his property and tracks the trespassers like Rambo – dressed in a green shirt, camouflage hat, guns and a walkie-talkie. The sheriff of the town is also named in the lawsuit for allowing Barnett to carry on over the years.
Barnett was a former sheriff’s deputy before later becoming successful in the towing and propane business.
“This is my land. I’m the victim here,” Barnett said. “When someone’s home and loved ones are in jeopardy and the government seemingly can’t do anything about it, I feel justified in taking matters into my own hands. And I always watch my back.”
In March, a U.S. District Judge rejected Barnett’s request that the case be thrown out due to the fact that there was sufficient evidence to take it to a jury. The trial is expected to continue until Friday.