Border Patrol personnel asked if the Ariz. rancher. he was “crazy” when he called about alleged drug dealers

A Border Patrol agent is heard on a call questioning whether Arizona rancher George Alan Kelly is “crazy” before responding to his claims of alleged armed drug traffickers on his property.

Fox News Digital recently obtained several audio recordings of calls between the Border Patrol and Kelly with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office from Jan. 30.

That evening, the body of a man identified as 48-year-old Mexican national Gabriel Cuen Buitimea was found on Kelly’s ranch outside Nogales, Arizona. Kelly was subsequently arrested for first-degree murder, but that charge has since been downgraded to second-degree murder. The Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office, in releasing the calls, which last about 30 seconds to 8 minutes, emphasized that Kelly never called 911. The recordings are relay and the contact begins with dispatch.

In one call, someone from the Nogales Border Patrol Station tells dispatch, “My agents contacted the caller’s wife, who stated there were five on the property, and the caller is currently trying to pursue them and is chasing them south. five had a large backpack and possibly a rifle.’


George Alan Kelly is charged with the murder of Gabriel Kuen-Buitimea. (Mark Henle/The Arizona Republic via AP)

The dispatcher asks who had the rifle. “There were five on the guy’s property, but with the guy chasing them,” says the Border Patrol agent. “It sounds to me like the caller – the person who called us in the first place – has a rifle and someone in that group of five has a rifle.”

Someone from the Border Patrol station calls later.

“Sorry, man. I hate to do this to you. I don’t know for sure if this guy is shot or not,” the agent tells dispatch. “What happens sometimes is some of our customers drive by his property and then, I don’t know if he’s crazy or what’s going on.”

The dispatcher asks, “So we don’t know if it’s an active shot?”

The agent replies, “No. He called our liaison at the ranch a few minutes ago, not directly here. And he said he was shooting at the five that shot him.”

“His last statement was that he thought he was being shot and thought he heard gunshots,” the agent adds. “But then he saw people running. But he didn’t see firearms. But he controls his ranch with his guns. He controls his animals.”

“But it doesn’t backfire, does it?” the dispatcher asks.

The agent replies, “No, at least he doesn’t say he did.”

“This same guy, he’s made this call before,” says the agent. “And it ended up being just aliens on his property, and he’s saying the same thing… Obviously we have to take it seriously.”


The agent gave the address for Vermillion Ranch.

George Alan Kelly, 73, is accused of shooting a Mexican man on his property in January.  Kelly said he fired warning shots and never fired directly at anyone.

George Alan Kelly, 73, is accused of shooting a Mexican man on his property in January. Kelly said he fired warning shots and never fired directly at anyone. (Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

The Border Patrol did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

The calls provide more context as the defense and prosecution remain bitterly divided over what allegedly happened that fateful day at the cattle ranch where Kelly, 73, and his wife lived for decades.

The state contends that Kelly shot an “unarmed” man in the back “in an unprovoked attack as he ran for his life” more than 100 yards from Kelly’s residence. Kelly is charged with two additional counts of aggravated assault in connection with alleged surviving witnesses who have come forward from Cuen Buitimea’s party.

But the defense maintains that Kelly only fired “warning shots” into the air earlier that day after spotting a group of armed men moving through trees next to his ranch house. An affidavit claims one of the gunmen “pointed an AK-47 right at” Kelly, who called a Border Patrol ranch liaison several times.

The rancher claims he found the body later that night when he was out with dogs to check on the animals. Kelly’s lawyer has suggested to the court that the cartels could buy testimony against the rancher.

In another recording, the Nogales Border Patrol Station admits to passing on “third-hand” information.

“Hey, we just got a call from a citizen. I’m calling from the Nogales Border Patrol Station,” says the agent at the dispatch. “And it’s the rancher that’s in the last house in South Sagebrush. He claims there are people shooting at him and he’s shooting back. We’re advising our agents going into that area now.”

“You know what, ignore,” the caller adds after a few seconds. “This person isn’t sure if he’s being shot. I don’t know if this guy is crazy or what’s going on… This is like third-hand information. He called our liaison at the ranch who called the operations center, and I’m calling you, so I don’t have everything.”

The dispatcher asks, “So we don’t know if it’s an active shot?”

The agent replies, “not heard anymore.”

Another caller, who says he’s from “Martinez Chapels,” a funeral home in Nogales, tells a dispatcher he was about 40 minutes away from the death call at Kelly’s ranch.


In another recording, a caller who identifies himself as a supervisor at the Nogales Border Patrol Station says he wanted to follow up with the sheriff’s office about Kelly.

“Yes, sir. I have my deputies still on scene. We located a body,” the dispatcher reports.

The overseer asks, “A man?” “Yes, man,” says the dispatch. “We also called our CID team. So they should respond soon.”

Another call confirmed a sheriff’s sergeant and a deputy were on scene with Kelly at one point.

George Alan Kelly faces a reduced charge of second-degree murder.

George Alan Kelly faces a reduced charge of second-degree murder. (Santa Cruz County Clerk of Court)

Only one of the recordings released captured Kelly giving a first-hand account of what happened that day.

In the call, a Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher calls Kelly. “I’m just calling because we got a report from the Border Patrol. So I called for more information. So what happened?”

“You’re going to need to send an officer out here,” Kelly says.

The dispatcher asks, “Okay, what’s going on?”

“It’s very serious, ma’am. And I can’t… I’m not going to talk on the phone,” Kelly says.

Asking for more context, the dispatcher says, “Go ahead. You can talk to me. What’s going on?”

In response, Kelly says, “Yeah, I know I can talk to you, but you’re responsible for what I say and I’m responsible for what I say.”

“You told them you shot at something. What did you shoot?” the dispatcher asks.

“I haven’t said I shot at anything,” Kelly replies.

The dispatcher says, “Okay, that’s what the Border Patrol told us, so I’m just asking you.”


George Alan Kelly was held for several weeks on $1 million cash bond.

George Alan Kelly was held for several weeks on $1 million cash bond. (Santa Cruz District Court)

“The Nogales Sheriff’s Department had four of five guys out here this afternoon to investigate a border patrol narcotics incident,” Kelly tells the dispatcher, saying she doesn’t remember their names.

“But they know what happened. I don’t want to get you in trouble and I don’t want to get me in trouble,” Kelly says. “But I don’t want to break the law or anything. What I’m telling you is we need a sheriff’s deputy out here – 100 Willow Cross Circle – right now. And that’s all I can say, ma’am.”

“Ok did anyone get hurt?” the dispatcher asks. “I need to know because if someone gets hurt, I need to send an ambulance as well.” The rancher starts, but then stops, so the dispatcher asks if it would be more comfortable to speak with a deputy.

“You know the thing, ‘you have the right to remain silent and anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law?’ I’m not admitting to anything I’ve done, but it all tends to add up, and I don’t know what happened,” says Kelly .” I just know what I saw just about 15 minutes ago. And it’s something an ambulance can’t help. EMTs cannot help. There’s nothing out here that EMT or EMS can help with.”

The dispatcher asks, “And you’re sure an EMT can’t help?”

“I’m positive. I have a medical background. The EMT can’t help,” Kelly says. The sender asks: “Do you know who and if it is that you saw?” Kelly says, “No, I didn’t say it was nobody. I just said it’s a body.”

“I’m not trying to be clever, ma’am,” adds the rancher.


“I know you’re trying to be careful and I get that. But I hope you understand that for my part, I have to take care of my deputies as well,” says the sender. “Well I’m going to need a little more context as to why you needed a deputy to head out there.”

Kelly says, “Now you know there’s a body here… And it’s not alive. So you asked if I needed an EMT. I said no, but I’m sure sooner or later a medical examiner will be involved.”

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