Original URL: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/1210vigilantes-ON.html

Ranchers accused of impersonating border agents sued
Associated Press
Dec. 10, 2003
Arthur H. Rotstein

TUCSON - A southern Arizona ranch family was accused Wednesday of impersonating federal agents and of committing civil rights violations against illegal immigrants.

Border Action Network, a human rights organization, and Donald J. Mackenzie, vice president of Summerland Monastery Inc., filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against Roger Barnett, his wife, Barbara, and another man identified as Ralph Barnett.

The civil action accuses the Barnetts of conspiracy to interfere with civil rights and seeks preliminary and permanent injunctions against the Barnetts.

The lawsuit seeks to prevent them from continuing to impersonate federal officers; detain, and frighten undocumented immigrants; and trespass on Mackenzie's property.

Barnett said he was unaware of the lawsuit and would therefore not comment.

At a news conference in Tucson, Mackenzie said an Oct. 11 incident precipitated his decision to participate in the lawsuit.

He said he came across about 30 people near a water station maintained on the monastery ranch property when Barnett told him he had "rounded up the Mexicans" after tracking them.

Mackenzie said he concluded that Barnett and Ralph Barnett were Border Patrol agents based on their demeanor and how they were dressed, including Roger Barnett's cap that said "U.S. Border Patrol."

Mackenzie said he later discovered they were not federal agents, but he did not challenge their presence. He said he never gave the Barnetts permission to enter the property.

"Rambo wannabes don't belong in Arizona," Mackenzie said.