Reporter: Craig Smith
ELOY, Ariz (KGUN9-TV) - An ambush in a remote desert leaves two men---trying to sneak into the country illegally---dead.
They were being smuggled through an area near Eloy, but just barely inside Pima County.
The area is remote but still fairly close to major cities like Phoenix and Tucson. That means it's a prime pathway for illegal immigrants. Jo Bode is captain of the neighborhood watch group for nearby Silverbell Estates. She has seen illegal immigrants turn up in her front yard.
"Most of the time they want food or water or they want directions, how to get to Phoenix, or how to get to Eloy or something like this. But other than that, there's always a constant fear. There's been houses broke into out here. There's been houses ransacked when people were gone, they come home at night and they found the illegals in their house and scared them out."
Bode knows a lot of the people she may encounter are just trying to get a job and get ahead but worries more and more about dangerous drug traffic too.
An incident Sunday shows how the danger can escalate.
As a pick up packed with illegal immigrants worked it way through a dry wash an ambush group dressed in camouflage opened up with rifles.
Border Patrol and Police from Eloy and Coolidge rushed to the scene.
Pima County Sheriff's Deputy Tom Peine says, "When they responded out there they found a pickup truck with two deceased adult males. One was in the bed of the truck and another one was located nearby in a wash area."
Pima County is handling the case because the crime scene is just over the Pinal County line.
The incident is an example of why neighbors in the area carry guns and watch out for each other.
Jo Bode says, "And it was much worse prior to the last, say, four years. Efforts have been stepped up, thanks to (Pinal County) Sheriff Paul Babeu and his task force in patrolling this area out here and making it a safer place for us. But that's something that changes on a day to day basis. They cannot be here 24/7."
There's been more and more talk in law enforcement about organized rip crews that steal from other smugglers, but Pima Deputies are not drawing any conclusions yet about whether that's what happened in this case.
This idea of rip crews and border bandits figures into several recent cases.
There's the case of Border patrol Agent Brian Terry who was killed in a remote area near Rio Rico. That was in December 2010. He was part of a special unit working to stop border bandits in that area.
There was also the case of a Shawna Forde, a woman trying to set up a border militia. She was convicted in a case where she and some others basically became a rip crew which busted into the home of a man they suspected of dealing in drugs. They killed him and his nine year old daughter and are serving time for those crimes now.