About 3,500 acres of southern Arizona along the Mexican border is closed to U.S. citizens due to increased violence in the region.
The closed off area stretches 80 miles along the border and includes part of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. It was closed in October 2006 "due to human safety concerns," the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Wednesday in response to news reports on the closure.
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu told Fox News that violence against law enforcement officers and U.S. citizens has increased in the past four months, further underscoring the need to keep the 80 miles of border land off-limits to Americans.
The refuge had been adversely affected by the increase in drug smugglers, illegal activity and surveillance, which made it dangerous for Americans to visit.
"The situation in this zone has reached a point where continued public use of the area is not prudent," said refuge manager Mitch Ellis.