Ya’ll remember Pinal County Deputy Louie Puroll? He’s the “hero” deputy sheriff in Arizona who allegedly was wounded in a gun battle with “cartel members?
When he finally decided to cooperate with investigators, Puroll the told investigators he was following a group of smugglers carrying bales of marijuana when he was ambushed by men firing AK-47 rifles about 50 miles south of Phoenix on April 30. In what Puroll described as a running gunbattle, he was grazed by a bullet in the back.
Paul Rubin writing for Phoenix New Times, questioned Puroll’s story and wounds, as did those of us who write for Immigration Clearinhouse. In the article “Pinalcchio”, Rubins presents evidence from noted forensic scientists that disputes Puroll’s story of the encounter.
Now, Puroll has been put on paid administrative leave for making threats against the reporter Paul Rubin.
In the article, Whitewash, Puroll told New Times staff writer Paul Rubin a few details about some encounters he’s had with members of a Mexican drug cartel.
Puroll tells me that representatives of “the Mexican cartel” have approached him four or five times at this restaurant over the years wanting to do business.”They didn’t want me to sell or buy the stuff, just that they’d make it worth my while to look the other way out in the desert if I bumped into them,” he says.
Puroll says he didn’t arrest any of these men, call for backup, or write reports about the encounters.
Puroll also told Rubin about a potential threat against the reporter’s life made by a “rancher of Mexican decent,” who offered to off Rubin for some of things written in his first article on Puroll, Pinalcchio.
After four hours of dialogue, I shut down my tape-recorder at the truck stop.Puroll tells me: “Now that that’s off, let me tell you something. You’re lucky to be alive right now.”
The deputy explains that a friend of his, a “rancher of Mexican descent,” recently offered to murder me because of what I wrote in “Pinalcchio.”
I ask the deputy what he’d said to his pal.
“I said that it wouldn’t be a good idea, not to worry about it,” he says evenly.
I ask him why he’s telling me this. He sees me taking notes, but continues.
“Thought you’d like to know some people were upset with you, that’s all,” the deputy replies, smiling slightly.
Pinal Sheriff Paul Babeu had this comment:
“If the statements reported in the article written by Mr. Rubin are in fact proven accurate, the conduct of Deputy Puroll is not consistent with Pinal County Sheriff’s Office policies nor do I approve of the way in which he represented our sworn profession.”
The PCSO also cited comments Puroll made about other shooting incidents in which he’s been involved that would make the Vekol Valley incident “seem like eating lunch at a Dairy Queen.”