Casey Nethercott, a member of the extremist anti-immigration group Ranch Rescue, was arrested in Douglas, Arizona, on November 25, 2003, on charges of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
Nethercott, 35, was arrested by Douglas police with assistance from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and then turned over to the FBI for extradition to Jim Hogg County, Texas. An arrest warrant for Nethercott was issued after he failed to appear at a hearing in Hebbronville criminal court in Texas in October on charges that he detained a pair of Salvadorans and beat one with a pistol.
Nethercott is one of two people accused in the alleged illegal imprisonment and assault incident that took place on March 20, 2003, during Ranch Rescue’s “Operation Falcon” on a 5000-acre ranch near Hebbronville. Nethercott pleaded not guilty to the charges in April. Ironically, at that time, Ranch Rescue issued a statement saying that “there is no guarantee that the prosecution witnesses will ever show up in court.”
Ranch Rescue, based in Arlington, Texas, was formed in June 2000 by Jack Foote and a small group of people inspired by news reports about confrontations between local ranchers and immigrants on the U.S. border with Mexico. The group organizes armed vigilante “patrols” of the border on private property, over which they claim the federal government has no jurisdiction. Its activities enjoy wide support among extremist groups across the county.
After Nethercott’s arrest in March, the Ranch Rescue Web site claimed that he was “being held on false charges by a corrupt county Sheriff and District Attorney” in Jim Hogg County, referring to them as the “Texas Taliban.” Jack Foote responded to Nethercott’s latest arrest by vowing “to bring in more volunteers, lots more.”
Ranch Rescue volunteers are currently conducting “Operation Thunderbird” in Douglas, along with members of the Missouri Militia.
When Nethercott was arrested in March, Sheriff Erasmo Alarcon said, “We’ve never seen anything like this before…the way they are treating these people is inhumane. It won’t be tolerated.”