Arizona man shot 16 times on Christmas Eve while avoiding migrant roadblock from Mexico, at mercy of smuggling gangs

Arizona man shot 16 times on Christmas Eve while avoiding migrant roadblock from Mexico, at mercy of smuggling gangs

Arizona Man Survives Ambush on Dangerous U.S.-Mexico Border Route

Craig Ricketts, a 68-year-old Arizona resident, became the target of a violent attack while traversing a notorious section of the U.S.-Mexico border plagued by gang violence.

The incident occurred near Oquitoa, Sonora, as he was en route to visit his son in Tempe on Christmas Eve.

Despite being shot at 16 times, Ricketts miraculously survived, with two bullets hitting him in the arm and leg, the latter shattering his left ankle.

Navigating Through Danger: Unexpected Route and Rival Gang Territory

Normally opting for the Lukeville Port of Entry, Ricketts found himself on an alternate route due to the closure of the checkpoint on December 4. U.S.

Customs and Border Protection officers had been reassigned to process asylum seekers.

The GPS redirected him near the Sasabe Port of Entry, an area contested by rival smuggling gangs. Unaware of the danger, Ricketts continued on this perilous path, where nearly 20 shots were fired at his vehicle.

Survivor’s Perspective: No Hatred Amidst Tragedy

In the aftermath of the ambush, Ricketts, despite sustaining significant injuries, expressed a surprising lack of animosity towards his attackers.

He attributed the incident to being in the wrong place at the wrong time, stating, ‘The bottom line is they don’t know who I am.

They just wanted to secure their access for smuggling people.’

His resilience and forgiving perspective shed light on the complexities of violence in the region.

Background: Businessman with Extensive Experience in Mexico

Craig Ricketts, a seasoned businessman, has worked in Mexico for over two decades, dedicating the last seven years to building a real estate development in Puerto Libertad, known as Liberado—touted as ‘Mexico’s most exclusive development.’

The incident on Christmas Eve underscores the risks faced by individuals working and traveling in regions marred by gang violence.

Wider Implications: Escalating Violence and Mass Exodus

The Christmas Eve shooting is not an isolated incident, as evidenced by a recent uptick in violent episodes involving U.S. residents in Sonora.

The broader context reveals escalating gang violence, prompting a mass exodus of asylum seekers.

A December 2023 study indicated that 88 percent of migrants passing through a Nogales shelter sought refuge from the conflict between the Sinaloa Cartel and Jalisco New Generation Cartel—a stark shift from 2017, when economic hardships were the primary motivator for migration.

As the violence on the U.S.-Mexico border continues to escalate, incidents like Ricketts’ serve as stark reminders of the challenges faced by individuals navigating these dangerous territories.

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TDPel Media

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