Crime Trackers

Sep 10, 2013 4:15 PM by Lupita Murillo

Pima County bomb techs training with counterparts in Israel

TUCSON - A special team of bomb squad members from the Southwest Border was recently in Israel.

They worked alongside their counterparts from the Israeli Police in an effort to improve techniques and tactics they use along the US-Mexico border.

Sgt. Chris Rogers and Deputy John Morris represented the Pima Regional Bomb Squad.

Sgt. Rogers says "We engaged the Department of Defense and the technical support group to sponsor the trip. So we could get first hand training and experience from the Israelis who have been dealing with cross border IED (Improvised Explosive Devices) for some time now."

Sgt. Rogers says, here along the border they've discovered IED's, dynamite, and other explosives.

News 4 obtained a video where the bomb squad detonated some of the explosives they found just 14 miles from the border. Sgt. Rogers says, "Approximately 100 pounds of dynamite were located along a common smuggling route."

Also found on a drug smuggling route an IED.

"Mexican drug cartels have been engaging the Mexican government in an ongoing IED campaign."

In 2010 in Mexico 22 vehicles were blown up. Some of those explosives have made it onto U-S soil. "Cartel related caches located in Texas and in Arizona that have been handled by bomb squads operating along the US-Mexico border."

Deputy John Morris spent a week in Tel Aviv. Some of the training included going to a West Bank outpost with the Israeli National Police bomb squad. He was also at a port of entry learning about port inspections as they relate to counter explosives and counter IED operations.

Deputy Morris says, drug trafficking organizations and terrorists are ahead of authorities so the key is to stay step ahead. Without going into specifics he says "The simplicity of the training the Israelis taught us was just an eye opener."

Also an eye opener the number of calls the Israeli Bomb Techs respond too. Morris went on to say "Israel is about the size of Pima County. Israel alone recorded double the calls the entire United States reported."

Morris witnessed firsthand what his counterparts go thru on a daily basis. "We actually had rockets fired on the Monday, and on the Sunday evening we were there rockets were fired into I believe from the Gaza to the western part of Israel."

All the time the group was observing, and learning, so they could return to their squads back in the US and share their knowledge.
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