January 27th, 2008
07:04 PM ET
12 years ago

Real People, Real Issues: Trouble at the OK Corral

Illegal immigration is an issue in this border town.

Illegal immigration is an issue in this border town.

ABOARD THE ELECTION EXPRESS, TOMBSTONE, Arizona (CNN) – In 1886, Wyatt Earp battled outlaws at the OK Corral. Today, it’s Deputy Marshal J.D. DeMatteo keeping the peace. But his battle is with illegal immigrants.

When he is not patrolling the streets of this town near the border, he leads a volunteer posse looking for illegal immigrants.

“The coyotes are dropping off around this area,” DeMatteo said this weekend, as the CNN Election Express rolled through this historic Wild West town. Coyotes are smugglers who help illegal immigrants enter the country.

“Some of the vehicles are loaded up with drugs, and then they’re picking up on the other side in some of the washes, and then heading out trying to get to Tucson and L.A.”

DeMatteo recalled an incident when he was attacked by a group of illegal immigrants, which he said he was able to stop by firing a shotgun round into the air.

“We go out into the desert looking for locations that illegals are dropped off,” he said. “[We] track them, detain them, until border patrol arrives.”

- CNN Election Express Producer Joshua Rubin

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