Arizona Sheriff's Posse Launches Air Operation to Fight Illegal Immigration

Sheriff's Posse Launches Air Operation: MyFoxPHOENIX.com

Maricopa County Sheriff's posse members are taking to the skies to fight illegal immigration and other related crimes.

As many as 30 pilots will donate their planes and their time to patrol the southern border of Maricopa County.

If they see any illegal activity like drug smuggling, they'll radio it into deputies on the ground.

The planes fly high enough that it is hard for people on the ground to hear them. But pilots say it's easy to spot illegal activity from the air.

"I think everyone owes the country something," says Phil Laker, who has been flying with the posse since 2001. "Whatever fits the individual and this fits me. This is something I can do."

It's the latest crime suppression operation by Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

"We're going to use our automatic weapons if we have to, and I'm tired of my deputies having to chase these people and I'm sure the air posse will be able to spot these guys running as they do constantly from us," says Arpaio.

The effort is called "Operation Desert Sky." It'll be going on for several weeks.

For more stories from KSAZ in Phoenix, Arizona go to myfoxphoenix.com.