When Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu was interviewed on The Political Cesspool July 10 -- an interview that got him in some hot water, as my story today relates -- he cited a source of information that caught my attention, in a context that raised my doubts.

First, Babeu said that the murders of two apparent smugglers in Pinal County last month seemed to have led to the shootout northern Sonoran that killed 21 people. That's possible, but he seems to be the only one who's saying it. Then he went on this jag, discussing the two murders in Pinal County:

Now one of the leaders of that cartel spoke with a reporter ... Now get this, now we have a drug cartel top officer speaking to a reporter in Tucson, the second largest city in Arizona, sits down with him in an interview  and tells him that "we first believed that it was this other cartel, the Sinaloa cartel, but now we don’t believe that’s the case. We believe it was American vigilantes, and that the sheriff of Pinal County, where my two soldiers were killed, is covering this up, and we’re going to hold him, Sheriff Paul Babeu" -- they said it right in the paper, this guy’s telling the reporter -- "and we’re going to hold him personally responsible for this."

That piqued my attention, of course, since the Arizona Daily Star is the only daily newspaper in Tucson, and I hadn't noticed this interview. So I asked Tim Gaffney, Babeu's spokesman, what Babeu was referring to. Gaffney pointed me to this piece by "investigative journalist" Michael Webster. Please read the piece, along with some of Webster's other writings at U.S. Border Fire Report and Laguna Journal  and tell me if you would trust this source of information, especially if you were a sheriff.

I'm not trying to say in this that Sheriff Babeu hasn't been threatened. Gaffney said threats have been received by various agencies and reported to the FBI. He did not detail which agencies received the threats when I asked, but in any case it wouldn't surprise me if he's receiving threats. Still, why is Babeu, whom Brady McCombs and I profiled deeply in May, citing this source?