Warren buffett’s son waging border war in cochise county phoenix new times

Howard Buffett’s primary charitable organization, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation is based in Decatur, Illinois. The foundation is purportedly interested in matters of “food security” and “conflict mitigation,” and has exhibited a growing preoccupation with “public safety” in recent years. Decatur is the seat of Macon County. Buffett, who has a deep interest in agriculture, owns several farms spread through Macon County and central Illinois.

In September 2017, following the unexplained midterm departure of Macon County Sheriff Thomas Schneider, an elected official, Buffett was named to serve out the remainder of the sheriff’s term.

This followed several million more in gifts to the Macon County Sheriff’s Office, the Macon County State’s Attorney’s Office, and the creation of Buffett-funded law-enforcement training centers in Macon County. Immediately following his resignation as sheriff, Schneider took a leadership position at a law-enforcement training center constructed and financed by Buffett.

SAT was co-founded in 2003 by retired Army intelligence lieutenant colonel and Lutheran pastor James Behnke, along with other retired military/intelligence personnel. The group is a private volunteer support organization for CCSO, which has provided services such as traffic control and security ­— as well as “intelligence analysis on drug cartel operations” and patrols of the county’s “remote areas.”

According to the latest records, Behnke is SAT’s treasurer and only remaining original director. He co-founded the group immediately following his failed 2002 Republican primary challenge to then-incumbent U.S. Representative Jim Kolbe. Behnke’s campaign platform consisted of one plank: securing the border through the deployment of military personnel to Cochise County’s San Rafael Valley, an area where Buffett now owns a substantial amount of land.

Behnke’s campaign was rife with border warriors — with former American Border Patrol Director Francis McWilliams serving as campaign manager, known Cochise County Concerned Citizens member David Stoddard serving as fundraiser, and notorious border vigilante and former CCSO deputy Roger Barnett aiding the campaign’s fundraising and communications efforts. Barnett and his wife, Barbara, were also the campaign’s top financial supporters.

In the first year of this support alone, Buffett provided SAT with two law-enforcement-equipped Chevy Tahoes, 16 sets of body armor, 14 Colt .45-caliber semi-automatic pistols, two Colt AR-15 assault rifles, extra magazines, several thousand rounds of ammunition, and a $22,150 gas allowance for 50,000 miles’ worth of “increase in Patrolling across County [sic],” according to CCSO records.

Mission Oaks occupies more than 2,000 acres, sandwiched between the U.S. Department of Defense’s Ft. Huachuca Military Reservation in the Huachuca Mountains, and the U.S.-Mexico border. The ranch comprises a substantial portion of terrain in the area of the San Rafael Valley and the Coronado National Forest near Cochise County’s western boundary, approximately 35 miles to the west of Christiansen Ranch.

Buffett seems to prefer his operations at Mission Oaks remain obscured. The real estate agent who sold Iroquois the property will not name the new owner, citing a nondisclosure agreement. Email correspondence between Buffett and Larner suggests that a no-trespassing sign punctuated with a noose was hung at the ranch not long after its purchase. Signs were erected by Buffett personnel on roadsides throughout the area, warning off hunters and other would-be trespassers, proclaiming the place a “wildlife conservation and protection area.”

Indeed, in his April 2018 book, Our 50-State Border Crisis: How the Mexican Border Fuels the Drug Epidemic Across America, Buffett (or his ghostwriter) stated that Mission Oaks is a wildlife refuge, where Buffett and his “ranch manager,” “Mark,” were shocked to find images of immigrants and smugglers captured on their “wildlife study cameras.”