Squalid Underground Camp Discovered in Tucson, Volunteer Vets Say

See below for an update from the Tucson Police Department.

A disturbing situation on a CEMEX property in Tucson, Arizona, is developing. A volunteer patrol group, Veterans on Patrol, which searches the desert for homeless camps in an effort to help homeless veterans, has uncovered what they say is a child sex trafficking camp. Video of the bizarre camp is circulating on Twitter under #OperationBackyardBrawl. The video shows an underground chamber only small enough for children to climb in and out of via a removable board. There are cribs, children's toys, and pornography. Even more disturbing are what is being described as wrist restraints tied to nearby trees and what looks like blood splattered around the camp.

Tucson News Now has video of the camp here.

The veterans claim they found evidence of bodies buried underground and reported finding objects like bloody knives and bone saws. They claim that Sheriff Mark Napier, local police, the FBI, and Homeland Security wouldn't respond to their calls for help or requests for cadaver dogs.

Local coverage tells a different story. Footage of uniformed police can be seen on the property, searching the camp. Local coverage says that the investigation has been turned over to detectives. Videos made by the vets on the property contradict those claims. Louis Arthur, one of the vets on the ground, has made many videos claiming that law enforcement is not responding to calls for help to contain the site, collect the evidence, and find out what's going on there.

According to KGUN9, "Since the bunker was found, the Tucson Police Department has sent officers and investigative teams to search for evidence of the human trafficking of children. TPD says they have found no evidence of a human trafficking site," but the accompanying video doesn't show the hole in the ground with the chamber that the vets found. Other reports do:

Arthur has many videos on his Facebook page detailing their fight for help with this situation. He is asking for cadaver dogs and law enforcement to come and secure the site and collect evidence. The latest report he put out says that Tucson police promised they would bring the dogs requested and the veterans group is refusing to leave until they see that investigation is being done.

Cemex Corporation, an international cement company that builds tunnels all over the world, is linked to the Clinton Foundation through a UN organization, according to a trade organization:  "Amid General Assembly of the United Nations meetings in New York City, Cemex officials signed an agreement to join the UN Foundation Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves...Launched in 2010 by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Alliance eyes adoption of clean cookstoves and fuels in 100 million households globally by 2020."

This story is developing. PJM has reached out to local law enforcement and Cemex and will update if new information becomes available.

UPDATE 1:17 p.m. EST:

Tucson police spokesperson Officer Hawkins responded to PJM, saying, "There is an active investigation that is ongoing." Hawkins says that while police don't think it looks like a trafficking camp, they aren't ruling it out. "We responded to the report of the camp on the 29th [of May] and our last visit to the area was June 2," he said. "Cadaver dogs were sent to the area and did not find anything."

As for the strange ties that look like hand restraints on the trees, police say that sometimes ropes are used to hang tarps in homeless camps. "Some of the claims may have been a little exaggerated," said Hawkins, "but we have never had any problem with the Veterans on Patrol and they are cooperating fully.

Veterans on Patrol are well known to police in the area and, according to Hawkins, they do good work with the homeless community in Tucson. PJM inquired about the underground bunker that looked like it had been used to house children and Hawkins explained that it's not unusual in homeless camps for there to be underground caves that are much cooler than the open desert. "People will dig into the ground to get out of the heat," he said.

The particular underground chamber in question did not look like the entry was big enough for a grown adult.

Police are still investigating and encourage people to follow them on Twitter and Facebook for any updates. "This could be multi-jurisdictional because of a nearby native reservation, the Mexican border, and the Sheriff's jurisdiction," said Hawkins, "but we do work together to make sure we are sharing information."

CEMEX communicated to police that they did not want the VoP on their property and the veterans have removed themselves. VoP has been encouraging other searchers in the nearby area to find more camps that are similar, but police say they have done extensive searches and found nothing. "It appears to be a homeless camp or it could be used by border crossers, we're not sure yet," said Hawkins, adding that the TPD will get to the bottom of it.