Live from our nation’s capital Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – during the show Leahy spoke to Cochise County, Arizona cattle ranch owners Peggy Davis and daughter Marlo Compton who live on a cattle ranch 25 miles from the Mexico border.
During the second segment, Marlo described a scary incident where an illegal alien had hung out at their ranch all day and was waiting for her on the front porch with a knife insisting she give him a ride. She added that things have just gotten worse and that it took 25 minutes for anyone to arrive allowing for the illegal immigrant to escape.
Leahy: Our guests this morning Peggy Davis and daughter Marlo. They live on a ranch in Tombstone, Arizona are about 25 miles north of the border. How big is your ranch Peggy?
Peggy: We manage about 10,000 acres between deeded land and state leased land.
Leahy: That’s pretty big. That’s cattle?
Peggy: We raise cattle and quarter horses.
Leahy: Cattle and quarter horses?
Peggy: We do.
Leahy: How many cattle do you have?
Peggy: Let’s see, I wish it was relative to my bank account. But we have about 250 mother cows.
Leahy: 250 mother cows. How about quarter horses? Is it common to have quarter horses and cattle in that area?
Peggy: It’s not uncommon. A lot of us raise our horses to use on the ranch. And ours are also performance rodeo horses.
Leahy: Really? That’s a very serious business, isn’t it?
Peggy: Well, it is.
Leahy: Good. How long has this ranch been in the family?
Peggy: My husband’s family came to Cochees County long before statehood in 1867.
Peggy: Before the Ok Corral. Yeah.
Leahy: 1867. That’s a long time to be in Arizona.
Peggy: It is a long time.
Leahy: I’m getting the feeling now that your land is not really your land anymore. In terms of how people treat it.
Peggy: Well, for years we’ve had problems with illegals cutting our fences.
Leahy: They cut your fences?
Peggy: Oh sure.
Leahy: Marlo’s over here saying, “Of course they do.”
Peggy: She grew up on the ranch and she knows what it’s like to grow up there. I was raised in Colorado. So I didn’t know what the border patrol was when I first moved there. My husband used to make me hide from them. And I did. But she can tell you a little more about it.
Leahy: So you grew up there?
Leahy: So you know what it was like, before 1986 when the Simpson Mizzoli Act was passed to supposedly solve the problem and gave amnesty to a couple of million. Instead of enforcing the law that said employers would have to verify that their employees were illegal hasn’t been enforced.
Leahy: What’s it been like since 1986 there?
Marlo: When I was really little, there were the people coming through that are what the media want to tell you what they are today. They were the people looking for work. Looking for a better life. I remember vividly, my parents fed every single one that came through.
Leahy: So they would come through.
Leahy: And they were nice to you?
Leahy: And you saw them and you wouldn’t kick them out?
Marlo: Oh no. My mom fed everyone.
Marlo: I remember being four years old and she set me out on the porch to take food out to men who were coming through. That was commonplace.
Marlo: Things changed.
Leahy: What happened?
Marlo: At one point our ranch had they estimate maybe 200-250 a day walking through our place.
Marlo: The numbers drastically increased and the lack of respect and care all decreased as property damage increased.
Leahy: So give me an example of this besides cutting your fences. What else did they do to damage your property?
Marlo: We came home one time and we had horses that had been all shut off of the water. Broodmares and baby colts. Their water had been shut off for a couple of days. It’s Arizona high desert.
Leahy: So when you say shut off water what exactly do you mean?
Marlo: They shut gates.
Leahy: They shut off gates to keep them out?
Leahy: Why? Why did they do that? They really don’t like you apparently?
Marlo: They don’t.
Leahy: Really? They really don’t like you? Are they aggressive towards you?
Peggy: They became aggressive later on. But now they hide.
Marlo: Right. Things have changed even again. But we’ve had even scary situations. When I was in high school and college I’d go to open my barn door to feed the horses and there are 13 men laying on the floor of the barn.
Leahy: Yeah, that’s a little scary.
Marlo: It’s intimidating.
Leahy: So describe that day to us. So you go in, what day? What time of the morning was it?
Marlo: Well jeez, that’s not even just the scariest one. That’s just kind of like…
Leahy: So you open the barn door and there are 13 men sleeping on the floor…
Marlo: Yeah, and you shut the door and you go get your dad.
Leahy: What was the scariest situation.
Marlo: The scariest story, long story short. Just to kind of set this up for people that may not understand the situation where we live. The nearest house is a mile away and then it’s seven miles to the nearest house. Our closest neighbor was not home. My parents were not at home. I was college-aged right out of college.
Went to go feed the horses, came back to the house and there was a man by himself which was unusual at this point. Usually, we had much larger groups on the front porch. He got pretty agitated with me. Wanted a ride.
Leahy: A man on the front porch. You’re all alone in the desert on your ranch. Was this man big, small?
Marlo: Well he was bigger than me. (Chuckles)
Leahy: Bigger than you. So he’s on your front porch…
Marlo: He was.
Leahy: Was he wearing jeans? Whats he’s wearing?
Marlo: It was snowing which was unusual in Arizona. He had a leather jacket and my dad had made me take which was unusual also, we took a concealed weapons course earlier because we had so much…
Leahy: Did you have a concealed weapon on your body?
Marlo: Not on my body but in the house yes there were weapons.
Leahy: So he’s standing between you and the weapon?
Marlo: He’s outside and I’m talking to him through a window.
Leahy: Ok, so you’re inside?
Marlo: I’m inside and he’s outside and I’m talking to him through a window. And he gets very agitated with me and he tells me, “Give me a ride.” Of course, I’m not wanting to come give him a ride.
Leahy: That sounds like a smart idea. Get in a car with a strange man that’s being mean to you.
Marlo: He was hiding something behind his back too. I could tell he had something up the sleeve of his jacket. I remember in that class we saw a video on contact weapons and how to avoid people. He was very strange. The whole thing was very strange. Anyway, he finally tells me my friend and I have been here all day and we know you’re alone. We know there’s nobody here but you.
Leahy: Oh, this is a good start.
Leahy: How scared are you?
Marlo: At that point scared. Swallowed hard and I remember saying, “You can do this. You can do this.” Thinking about the closest place in my house I can get to a weapon to defend myself. And thinking about all of it. Well, I looked at him and I said I was alone but I looked at him and said, “Oh no I’m not my dads on a different part of the ranch and he’ll be back in a minute.
You better hope he doesn’t find you here when he gets back.” So he bought it. I looked at him and I could tell he bought it for a minute. He started to walk off and I called everybody I knew. Sheriff’s department, border patrol, friends and family. Friends and family made it to me first in 25 minutes.
Leahy: 25 minutes? During that 25 minutes did you go get your gun?
Marlo: Oh yeah. Yes, sir I sure did.
Leahy: Where were you in the house?
Marlo: In the house, I got as far as I could to entrances and exits. As far as I could from doors and talked on the phone to someone else and another friend and family until they got there. My vest vantage point to be of defense for myself.
Leahy: And so what happened to this stranger?
Marlo: He got away. And they finally got there about 25 minutes. They didn’t catch him. He had been there all day as he said. Had been in and out of our outbuildings, our barns. Everywhere else.
Leahy: He was just waiting to swoop in and get you.
Marlo: Absolutely. And he had been in a second building we have there. A little apartment. And we had a butcher block on the counter and the largest knife was missing out of the butcher block.
Leahy: So he probably had that knife behind him and he was ready to use it.
Marlo: I mean I feel very blessed to be able to tell this story.
Listen to the full hour:
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