The Arizona governor’s office suspects criminal elements, not windy weather, are to blame for the toppling of two massive shipping containers that were installed days earlier as a makeshift border wall.
Two 60-foot-long containers that construction workers had dropped along the border with Mexico last weekend were found dislodged Sunday evening. Construction workers on scene Monday morning told a local reporter they believed the nearly 9 tons worth of containers had been blown over by the wind, but a spokesman for Gov. Doug Ducey (R-AZ) said the math did not add up.
“The idea that it was a weather-related event seems unlikely. These things weigh 8,800 pounds. There were two of them together — 8,800 pounds is basically the weight of a Ford F-450. We have a lot of strong winds in Arizona. You don’t see a lot of Ford F-450s flying around when we have strong winds,” Ducey’s communications director, C.J. Karamargin, said Wednesday.
Border Patrol made the discovery of the knocked-over containers around midnight Monday, he said. Workers had started the 1,000-foot-long project Friday morning and were nearly completed when they left the site Sunday evening. The compromised containers on one end of the project had not been bolted and welded down like all of the others were.
“Some people attempted to dismiss this as a pointless effort because this is not the main route through which people enter the United States,” Karamargin said. “If this didn’t matter, if this barrier that we are erecting was irrelevant, or somehow misplaced, then why would someone make the effort to topple over nearly 18,000 pounds of shipping container? It just doesn’t make sense on its face. It doesn’t make sense. Our goal, of course, is to make Arizona communities safer. We clearly struck a nerve.”
The state immediately moved to send in construction workers to restock and secure the containers, but they were told by Border Patrol to wait until morning due to “heavy activity” in the area.
Crews were allowed back on the scene shortly after the sun rose at 6 a.m. and installed both containers by 7 a.m., Karamargin said. A photo posted to Twitter shortly before 8 a.m. local time by a reporter shows the containers toppled over under an early morning sky with the lights of a vehicle on nearby, confirming the timeline of events.
The state is looking into the cause of the incident and taking steps to ensure it does not happen again.
“The attempt to slow us down that happened late Sunday with these containers being knocked or pulled over, that will not deter us,” Karamargin said. “Workers are on the scene right now doing the job that the governor has asked them to do, and they’re going to continue to do it.”
The governor’s office said it has had “minimal” contact with Washington, D.C., prior to installing its own border wall last week and that that level of communication had not changed in the days since.