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Mexico's drug war violence prompts BLM warning for Imperial Sand Dunes visitors

April 10, 2009 | 10:37 am

U.S. Border Patrol agent patrols the fence at Imperial Sand Dunes on an all-terrain vehicle.

Talk about joining the bandwagon late. The Bureau of Land Management on Thursday issued a news release cautioning the public to beware in border areas because of violence attributed to Mexico's drug cartels and their illegal activity.

It pertains to the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area, which skirts the border in Imperial County, and basically implores people to exercise common sense while visiting the popular off-road recreation destination.

The BLM reminds: Cellphone service is limited at best; do not pick up hitchhikers; keep valuables in sight; and do not make contact with people who appear to be in distress. "People in distress may ask for food, water and other assistance," the news release states. "Do not make contact. Report the location of the distressed people to the nearest BLM or other law enforcement authority."

This is an interesting request. It makes sense if one is to assume anyone appearing in distress is in fact a criminal seeking victims. In fact, that might be the case. But what if a person who appears in distress really is, and you ride off, and he or she dies in the sand, how would you feel?

Again, common sense and an increased level of wariness -- not to be confused with paranoia -- should serve off-roaders well enough, especially if they ride with others.

To read up on all sorts of issues related to the drug war, click here.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: U.S. Border Patrol agent patrols the fence at Imperial Sand Dunes on an all-terrain vehicle. Credit: Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times

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