Recent history has been less kind to Organ Pipe. In the 1990s, border-security crackdowns in urban areas sent human and drug traffickers into the outback seeking new routes from Mexico to the United States. The monument became a thoroughfare for illegal activity, culminating in 2002 when park ranger Kris Eggle was shot and killed by drug smugglers. After that, most of what was deemed America’s “most dangerous national park” was closed to the public. Since then, numerous security measures have been implemented. Miles of vehicle barriers were installed on the border, along with surveillance towers and pedestrian fences. More law-enforcement rangers were added to the monument’s staff and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection dramatically beefed up its presence.
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