Recently a story out of Tucson, Arizona went viral. A group dedicated to rescuing homeless veterans had stumbled onto a child sex trafficking camp in the woods near route 19 at a Cemex property, 40 miles from the border with Mexico. The Facebook live streams were captivating. The group insisted this could be nothing other than a “cartel rape camp” for trafficked children. The group found hair dye and children’s toys. A buried septic tank was identified as a holding cell for young victims. Pieces of hose and straps nailed to a tree at “child level” were said to be restraints, and the tree in question was most definitely a “rape tree.”
Law enforcement was called and responded to the scene. The veterans group angrily proclaimed on Facebook that the responding officers didn’t investigate properly. They then occupied the site, hanging an American flag from the tower of an abandoned cement factory. The veterans group placed personnel with rifles at various positions should the cartel sex traffickers return. They collected “evidence” they claimed law enforcement ignored. This high drama was captured in livestream after livestream.
This is the story of Michael ‘”Lewis Arthur” Meyer, the leader of the group Veterans on Patrol and the star of these compelling Facebook Videos, as told by someone who has observed his activities closely over the past 4 years. As you will find reading this article, I don’t believe much of what Lewis Arthur has to say, but I do believe this:
“I used to walk with the devil hisself.”
– Lewis Arthur in a recent Facebook Video, explaining his criminal background and redemption
While the devil may have vacated the place it occupied in Lewis’ soul from his days as a violent criminal, it is my opinion that same devil just hopped up onto his shoulder and it is still whispering away.
Let’s Start a Happening – Lewis Arthur in North Carolina
Not much about Lewis Arthur’s life before he came to Arizona has been published, beyond his criminal record and charges against him in various states including assault, burglary, domestic violence and drug possession. Arthur uses Facebook as his social media platform of choice, and knows his target demographic well. A lot of the information on Facebook concerning Arthur has disappeared over time (see the next section “The Many Profiles of Louie Prepper”), but an early mention still exists from 2013. A shared post by a fellow North Carolinian was located. Lewis had written anti-Obama and Hillary Clinton remarks in soap on the windows of his S.U.V. Edgy stuff like “Hillary 4 Prison” which surely cops in North Carolina vehemently disagreed with. The Facebook post included a photo of the vehicle and painted an outrageous picture of local law enforcement. They had unlawfully detained Louie Prepper over his political slogans, infringing on his first amendment rights. The local Sheriff was corrupt, and Louie had a list of demands.
While this was not much of a happening, you can see the seeds germinating in Louie Prepper’s mind and the beginnings of his modus operandi. This was a small start but a significant one. Lewis Arthur would use this same approach on a larger scale with every “operation” he conducted from that point on: A discovery of injustice, an expression of outrage, involvement of law enforcement that would never follow up, a list of demands, a vow to his social media audience that if the government wouldn’t do its job, Louie Prepper would.
The Many Profiles of Louie Prepper
One of the reasons Michael Lewis Arthur Meyer is so hard to tack down is that he uses Facebook exclusively for social media. Over the past four years he has had several profiles appear and disappear. Lewis himself has had multiple profiles under the name “Louie Prepper” and Veterans on Patrol have had countless profiles, including profiles for the various bases. Early videos that would shine a lot of light on the progression of Lewis Arthur’s activities have also gone the way of deactivation, but I watched them all when they were still accessible.
The stated reasons for these profiles that popped up and later disappeared were manyfold: splits in content across pages, schisms and hostile Facebook takeovers by others in VOP, abandonment of his homeless camps and most recently, a claim that he had lost his phone.
The purported loss of his phone led Lewis to deactivate all of his social media profiles. He created a new “Louie Prepper” profile with a handful of friends (which may be gone again as of the writing of this article), and this is the interesting part, created a new profile for Vets on Patrol entitled “VOP Alpha Co – Team Pulaski” ONE DAY before stumbling onto his rape camp.
It was a fortuitous coincidence. Louie Prepper now had both a clean slate and a perfect platform for his rape camp narrative.
Bundy Ranch and Climbing Light Poles
Arthur was a participant in the standoff with Federal Law Enforcement at the Bundy Ranch Standoff in Nevada in 2014. Social media posts exist with Arthur designating himself the organizer for Arizona Oath Keepers and 3%’rs, informing everyone they should coordinate their travel to Nevada with him. Whether Arthur was given this responsibility or it was self-designated (his usual approach), he was never a major player in the standoff and was forced to leave after an incident involving glow sticks and a government drone strike Lewis insisted was coming. The glow stick incident contributed to the nickname “Screwy Louie” which many of the Bundy participants still refer to him by to this day. Arthur did make the acquaintance of several Patriot group members during this time, connections which would go south quickly during the occupation of the Malheur bird refuge in Oregon in January of 2016.
Lewis Arthur first hit the news in the Phoenix Metro area when he climbed an 80 foot light pole in Surprise, a town near Phoenix. Arthur stayed on the top of the pole waving an upside down American flag for four hours. When police were able to get him down, he refused to tell them why he had climbed the pole, but made loose statements about veteran rights and the treatment of veterans.
Lewis was arrested and charged with criminal trespass. His response was to climb the same light pole again a month later. This time Lewis only stayed up there for 2 hours and again was talked down and surrendered to police. Once again he made statements about “concerns for veteran rights.”
This stunt got Lewis Arthur a lot of publicity, which he obviously enjoyed. It was fascinating to watch his mission morph and twist. Slowly Arthur’s statements were less general, and now focused on two things: veteran suicides and the rights of veteran Edwin Cordero, a man who Arthur claimed was being shafted of his V.A. benefits and unjustly denied in a child custody situation.
The story line was the same as North Carolina, but on a grander scale. Arthur performed a stunt and then slowly crafted his mission for attention and for his social media audience. The Surprise Police Department, the Mayor of Surprise, the people who ran the Municipal Sports Complex next to the light pole… all were part of a vast conspiracy against Arthur, against veterans and against the constitution. No one in power was doing their job, so Arthur was going to do it for them.
This was a strange time for Arthur. He would rave about veteran suicide but then relate it all back to Mr. Cordero, who was very much alive and was not suicidal. Arthur claimed things like he was going to go the Surprise Sports Complex, from which he had been banned due to his proclivity to climb their poles, and watch Cordero’s children swim (Cordero didn’t have custody at the time, his ex was also part of the conspiracy, I don’t think Arthur followed through with this creepy “op”). He claimed even at this point to have “teams” picking veterans up. The message was vague and confused at times, but one thing was clear. Michael Lewis Arthur Meyer was great on Facebook.
Stumbling In – The Founding of Veterans on Patrol
He was known in town now for his light pole climbing antics and Lewis Arthur started referring to himself both as the head of a ministry and as a veteran advocate. He was about to up the ante and embark on his most spectacular operation yet, the founding of Veterans on Patrol. It should be pointed out here that Arthur is not a veteran, although many assume he is due to his mode of dress and mil-speak, and he doesn’t disabuse anyone of the notion. He is the right age and seems like the right guy to have been toting a machine gun in Afghanistan. This “borrowed valor” is covered well in Mersh’s excellent article “Lewis Arthur & His Sex Camp Hoax”. In fact, Arthur’s extensive criminal record prevents him from carrying a firearm. During the years of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Arthur was busy walking with the Devil.
Veterans on Patrol (VOP) started with a bang. A Facebook live video was posted by Arthur claiming a horrible injustice was occurring near 19th Avenue and Camelback in Phoenix. According to Arthur, a large group of homeless veterans living in a vacant lot were being repeatedly victimized by Mexican drug gangs. The veterans’ phones were being stolen to be used in gang-related drug deals. One veteran had three of his phones stolen. This was the primary claim, although in follow-ups, he claimed veteran benefits were also being stolen by the same gangs.
The story on its face didn’t make much sense. Phoenix like other large metro areas has a large homeless population. As far as homeless veterans, almost all of them have been “touched” by experienced navigators for local veteran services groups. The vets who remain on the streets are often either mentally ill or not ready to meet the requirements for local shelters and programs, including giving up drugs and alcohol.
That area of Phoenix is largely residential. It is not an area with a lot of places for gangs to descend on the population. Upon investigation by law enforcement, the large camp of homeless veterans had mysteriously disappeared. There were no reports or people to report the alleged phone thefts, nor was there any evidence presented in Arthur’s videos of the veterans, the thefts or the Mexican gangs. That didn’t stop Lewis Arthur. We simply had to take his word for it. After all, the storyline touched nerves and veteran sensitivities in the community, and Lewis Arthur was great on Facebook.
Arthur cranked up the calls to action and publicity, and an empty lot was donated by a local businessman. Lewis had found his “Alpha Base”.
Like every highly publicized incident involving Arthur, he stumbled in with no knowledge and no real plan. When the story hit television and the newspaper, donations, including gift cards and supplies, poured in for VOP Alpha Base. He setup tents and gathered local homeless, only one of which was a confirmed vet. Highly regarded people in the veteran services space saw what Arthur was doing on the news and went to meet with him. Their conclusion was the same of all of the true experts in the areas Arthur stumbles into: he had no idea what he was doing and was difficult to work with. Arthur didn’t want experts. He wanted fame.
Arthur made false claims about veteran homelessness and was unaware of the services already available, like the CRRC who offered shelter and a range of services to get veterans their benefits. He played to emotion and it resonated with citizens who believed him. The donations got larger and larger. Finally, here was someone helping the vets. The area around 19th Ave and Camelback became a sideshow, with Lewis’ volunteers escorting homeless people around a densely populated area with AR-15s strapped to their sides. The videos became Lewis’ first real Facebook soap opera. Here is Lewis talking to the cops, here is Lewis making hot dogs, here is Lewis inflating his claims and referring to Veterans who weren’t really there.
The city of Phoenix requires permits and sanitation for anything resembling what Arthur was trying to build, and several orders to vacate followed. Arthur, of course, claimed that the Phoenix Police Department and Mayor were infringing on his rights, ignoring homeless vets and conspiring against him. He demanded to see the Mayor. He demanded to see John McCain. Finally after a 90 day ultimatum from the city, Arthur moved Alpha base to another property.
This became a pattern. Alpha base would spring up somewhere, only to be informed by the city that it couldn’t be there. In his mind, the conspiracy against Arthur and homeless veterans raged. There were several Alpha Bases as it bounced around. Now it was in the city, now it was up north, now it was over in Mesa.
Slowly Meyer tuned his message. Now he was working with other groups and the CRRC, helping veterans get their benefits and HUDVash housing. He seemed like he understood veteran benefits and had an expert’s feel for the system. The conditions at the alpha base camps in the meantime, included reports of primarily non-veteran homeless engaging in drug use and violence. Sexual assault was reported, and later we’ll talk about the mysterious death of VOP’s cofounder, Navy veteran Tristan “Batman” Knight.
The final blow for Alpha Base came when Meyer occupied a flood plain owned by the reservation and managed by the Arizona Department of Transportation off the 202 freeway in March of 2017. The reservation police demanded Arthur leave. The Department of Transportation demanded he leave and put up signs declaring it restricted property. Both groups warned Arthur about the potential for flash flooding.
Arthur was granted multiple reprieves while officials tried to work with him. He raged on Facebook about the latest conspiracy. The tribe, ADOT, the local government and police were all infringing on his rights and victimizing homeless vets. His homeless were picking up trash in the desert so they shouldn’t have to move. This is another disturbing pattern. One of local officials and agencies trying to work with Arthur to, as Arthur always says, “#doitright”. Everyone wants to help veterans and many of these agencies saw a misguided man with a good cause. Arthur could never seem to work with these officials and eventually they just gave up and evicted him.
True to its designation, the flood plain flooded, ruining the camp, all of the donated supplies (which continued to pour in at a fast and furious rate), and putting the health of the camp residents at risk.
Then Batman mysteriously drowned in one inch of water, his phone and gun on his car seat. Arthur left for Tucson, and hunkered down with his Bravo Base located there. Social media profiles disappeared and he was uncharacteristically quiet. Though there was some social media talk of moving again to Chandler, for all intents and purposes, Alpha Base was no more.
During the founding time period of VOP, Meyer also found time to inject himself into the Malheur Wildlife Sanctuary Standoff. This has been covered in other places, but speaks a lot to Arthur’s reputation amongst his fellow patriots. When he injected himself into this occupation, fistfights with his former comrades ensued and he was accused of being both an informant and an attention seeking agent provocateur.
This was a productive period in Lewis Arthur’s career as Minister Veteran Advocate. In the time it takes to say “gift card”, Lewis could come up with a new operation on the spot:
#OperationSafeSleep, #OperationNorthernExposure, #OperationDetainMcCain, #OperationBackyardBrawl, #OperationWasteNoMore, #JusticeForVeteranAlexCordero, #BringBackOurMarine (Andrew Tahmooressi)
Tucson Bravo Base
With the dissolution of Alpha Base, Arthur hitched his wagon to his remaining stalwart. Bravo Base in Tucson had also bounced around at first, and the typical drama happened initially with TPD and the city. Arthur wasn’t #doingitright, he had to move. Standoffs occurred; calls to action went out, cordons were formed, gift cards poured in. This is probably the time to point out that Arthur has not held employment since 2002. It is assumed during his pre-Arizona days he supported himself via theft and other illegal acts based on his statements about his past and his rap sheet. Since arriving in Arizona, he has survived on donations to his ministry and Veterans on Patrol.
Arthur had his problems in Tucson, which he claimed was drug and crime infested and crawling with homeless vets. Things turned out better for Bravo Base, however. Arthur was given a large piece of private property for Bravo. He built his camp and continued his ministry. The police and local authorities continued to have problems with him. Arthur insisted on patrolling the local parks and his VOP volunteers were even making citizen’s arrests. The police told him he had to stop. Arthur said, and this may sound familiar, if law enforcement wouldn’t do their job, he would.
The issue that the police had with Arthur was his zeal. He saw drug deals and crimes where none existed. He was harassing local citizens including a teenager who had an AR-15 pointed at him by an overly eager VOP recruit while walking home in his own neighborhood. Again, they saw a man with a noble mission, but a seriously flawed approach and character.
Arthur became obsessed with Santa Rita Park, which is across the street from Bravo Base. The park includes both a baseball diamond and a skate park. Arthur has run countless “operations” in this park with names like #OperationDragonfly and #OperationParkSweep. When the local Neighborhood Association took issue with Arthur’s operations, armed patrols and harassment by VOP volunteers, Arthur declared that VOP was “at war” with the Santa Rita Park Neighborhood Association.
In the early months and Spring of 2018, Arthur was feuding with the landlord about the 2 acres of property Bravo Base is located on in Tucson. The landlord was asking for funds for property taxes, had shut off the electricity and was threatening to evict VOP from the property. Bravo Base declared itself a “Self-Sacrificing Organization” where money is not accepted and government regulation is not recognized. In typical righteous style, Arthur wrote to the landlord (who had donated this land to VOP at no cost two and a half years previous and paid for utilities) demanding an apology and listing grievances. The very ground for Arthur’s only remaining base, Bravo, was at risk of being taken away.
Less than 2 months before the discovery of the “rape camp,” Arthur was juggling wars with his neighbors and more importantly, a feud with his landlord that could potentially cost him his remaining base.
Now it is time to discuss Lewis Arthur’s biggest op yet. Things were humming along at Bravo Base in Tucson, but publicity had dropped off and his landlord was threatening to pull the plug. As mentioned previously, Arthur reported losing his phone and wiped out all Social Media accounts. He started a new account called VOP – Alpha Co – Team Pulaski and one day later while traipsing through the woods near the Valencia exit on Route 19, Michael Lewis Arthur Meyer discovered the rape tree.
The story started with the discovery of an abandoned camp at the above mentioned location. Arthur went public with FB live videos. He assured his social media audience this was no normal homeless camp. There was hair dye, children’s toys, a buried septic tank that looked like a kiddie cell, a knife with what he claimed was blood on it and there was the tree. A tree in the camp had straps of fabric and hose tacked to the trunk. Arthur was sure these were restraints for sexually assaulting children. He called it a “rape tree” and insisted this camp could be nothing other than the hub for a child sex trafficking ring.
Arthur was an expert. He knew regular homeless camps, he was the homeless advocate. He had homeless men from Bravo Base with him. This was worse than anything he had ever seen. It was the cartels, he said. They were using this camp to hold, molest and traffic children.
Child sex trafficking is a very real and terrible problem. It is also a very sensitive issue that fills the public with dread and disgust, including imagining their own children in danger. This was a cartel run sex trafficking camp and here was a guy who was going to do something about it. Though there were doubters and alternate explanations for everything at the camp, social media began to catch fire. That’s when Craig “Sawman” Sawyer came into the picture and the likes and shares went through the roof.
Craig Sawyer is a former Marine and Navy Seal with a good reputation and a large following. He is a true American Hero, a highly decorated sniper in Desert Storm. Craig is currently filming a documentary about child sex trafficking with his organization Vets For Child Rescue and he has a proven record of assisting victims of child sex trafficking.
Craig heard about the camp discovered by Veterans on Patrol and decided he would investigate. He claims he was misinformed initially and told that children were found on site in the camp. Initially Sawyer toured the site and went on air in a video supporting Arthur’s claims. Arthur in turn, used Sawyer’s video as vindication of his find and crowed to anyone who would listen that Sawyer was an expert and he had pronounced that Lewis was right. Sawman has 150k+ followers on Facebook and as mentioned, has a good reputation. The social media machine went nuclear.
Multiple law enforcement agencies, headed by Tucson PD, visited the site. They examined the finds, took pictures and took evidence. They even brought in a cadaver dog per the demands of Veterans on Patrol, who had now occupied the unused Cemex cement facility and hung their banner from the tower.
According to Sawyer, there are 9 police reports, documenting 8 visits by over 20 officers. In other words, law enforcement took the claims seriously. The conclusion of Tucson PD was that there was no evidence indicating this was a camp used by child sex traffickers. The cadaver dogs found no bodies, even though Lewis Arthur claimed there were bodies and that they had started digging but stopped because the smell was too bad.
Sawyer stayed silent for a few days and then, after examining the police reports, issued his final statement on the camp. His conclusion? He believed law enforcement and did not think evidence showed this camp had anything to do with child sex trafficking. By this point Veterans on Patrol had amassed a substantial following with over 50,000 likes on their Facebook page and thousands of shares and comments for every video Lewis Arthur created forwarding the narrative of the “rape camp”.
Facebook was aflame and the personal army of housewives and prayer warriors Lewis Arthur had amassed were not going to accept Sawyer’s 180. They attacked every post on his YouTube and Facebook pages. They called him a shill. They said he had been compromised and issued his retraction for money. Arthur claimed to have conversations recorded with Sawman and even published his phone number in a Facebook post. Arthur’s now legion of fans besieged Craig Sawyer with threats and attacks.
One of the major ironies of this event is that Arthur’s #OperationBackyardBrawl as he was now calling it, became viral on the back of Craig Sawyer and now VOP was doing everything they could to discredit him, including multiple videos and doxing him. The feud continues, and it is hard not to have pity for Craig Sawyer, whose enthusiasm in his initial video statement has ended up costing him dearly. In the war between Craig Sawyer and Lewis Arthur, Arthur’s faithful have decided to follow the former criminal and attack the Navy Seal.
Weaponized Autism and Boomer Beckys – Lewis Arthur’s Private Army
#OperationBackyardBrawl was on. Lewis Arthur declared war on the cartels and put out a call to action. Come to Southern Arizona, he said, there is a place here for you, helping us fight evil. At the time of this article, Arthur has over sixty thousand followers on Facebook. Many are female, and they are defending this man they saw for the first time in a video a week ago with the zeal of the converted. Everyone is a shill. Lewis is doing God’s work. This is for the children. If you disagree you are a pedophile. The attempts to discredit Lewis simply prove the righteousness of his mission. Thousands upon thousands of comments, praising Lewis, thanking God for him, saluting the vets (of which he is not one) and then there are the donations.
Based on Facebook videos and comments, Arthur is receiving tens of thousands of dollars worth of donations daily, headed into six figures soon if not already. Videos show pallet after pallet of supplies and fat stacks of gift cards.
“I sent you $200 from my disability check in Home Depot gift cards. God bless the vets,” is a typical comment. We’ll discuss the donations and the status of Arthur’s organization in the section entitled “House of Gift Cards”
The conspiracy theorists have also taken off on this and run with it. Cemex is a donor to the Clinton Foundation. Cemex has locations all over the world used for sex trafficking. There are pedophilic symbols in the logo of a local school and planned community. The mayor of Tucson is a Rothschild…
There is enough conspiracy glow around this for Chelsea Clinton to have called it “Pizzagate 2.0”. This just inflamed the autists and stay at home Moms. If Chelsea Clinton is trying to discredit this, there must be something to it. There is danger in this level of hysteria and conspiracy theory as demonstrated by Pizzagate, with an armed gunman showing up at a pizza parlor in D.C. demanding to see the basement.
Arthur’s videos continue. When there hasn’t been one in a while, his social media fans clamor for it. He releases multiple videos a day. They found a baby skull. They found a victim of human trafficking (who they later decided was lying and turned over to ICE). They found another rape tree. They are on the trail of the coyotes.
He continually amps this up. He promises new discoveries he can’t tell you about. Evidence he can’t show you. He captures the good people of the camp drinking Mountain Dew you paid for. He has a “Drone Air Force”. He has been given land by local ranchers for FOBs. He disses the haters and praises God. This is God’s Work after all. Through it all there is the gruff voice, the oakleys, the haji scarf, the tac gear, the milspeak.
Lewis Arthur’s Facebook Live Videos are reminiscent of the Ghost Adventures shows on television. Much is promised, rarely does anything happen. If there is a noise or a mote of dust floats across the screen, it must be a ghost, or in Arthur’s case, a “rape tree.” Arthur often contradicts himself or brings up and then drops subject matter. He says he will give illegal aliens “sanctuary” from law enforcement, he says we don’t need a border wall, he curses his detractors, rationalizes his criminal past and invites everyone to come and “get them some.” He promises much, but shows little.
Still, Lewis Arthur is fucking magnificent on Facebook, so keep sending those gift cards.
Why Discredit the Man?
A question asked often on Facebook is along the lines of:
“Why are you attacking Lewis Arthur? Regardless of his past he uncovered this pedophile camp and is doing good. Why are you making it about character attacks on him? If I send him gift cards to support his mission it is because I want to.”
The answer to this question is that Lewis Arthur deserves to be investigated and vetted. This child sex trafficking camp is his narrative and any finds, research or conclusions are based upon his discredited claims. Lewis has never shown any conclusive proof of sex trafficking activity, though he hints at evidence you can’t see. His videos make claims that somehow are miraculously not captured, even though everyone has cameras and we have hours and hours of him speaking.
Some of Lewis’ claims:
- He claims Cemex or Tucson PD bulldozed the original camp site, though there are no real pictures to confirm.
- He claims he was shot at by a man on an ATV, but we just missed that one.
- He sent his “Drone Air Force” into the air and saw what are known survey markers, large concrete white X’s used by airplanes and satellites to calibrate their positions. Arthur made the outrageous and embarrassing claim that these were markers for child sex trafficking routes and they led right to Cemex properties.
- He claims the child’s skull he found had vertebrae attached and there was a decomposing body you could smell. The skull is bleached and far past decomposition, nothing else is shown. Law enforcement indicates it was only a skull and that it belongs to a man in his twenties.
- He “finds” the skull in an area littered with human remains far out in the desert 20 miles north of Tucson, and nowhere near the “rape camp” he discovered.
- He says there is a bloody knife, and while we are shown a knife, take his word that little spot there is blood.
- He found a random illegal and decided the man was a victim of trafficking. He took off with the guy before ICE could arrive (called by local business owners) and brought him to his FOB. He decides the guy is untruthful and calls ICE himself. His naiveté in the area of illegal immigration and trafficking is cringeworthy, and this is about trafficked children so he picks up a random 22 year old man. (they have since removed these videos)
- He supposedly discovered another rape tree, only this one we can’t see.
- He exposes Craig Sawyer’s number to the internet and claims he has the truth. He plays 3 seconds of a recorded call with Sawyer (along with showing the numbers and names of everyone he has spoken to and recorded in the last month) where Sawyer says “I’ll be at the site in 15 minutes” and presses stop. It’s a major reveal. His personal army applauds and attacks. (this video was also deleted, Arthur claimed because it hit 5000 “likes”, but more likely one of the people he unintentionally doxxed complained)
- VOP volunteers broke into a house in the desert, assuming it was a “rape house” and tried to destroy a closed circuit camera the owner was using to watch the property.
- Lewis Arthur encouraged his followers to search for child pornography on the Internet to vindicate his rape tree theories. He asked that his followers “find this shit because it’s out there”, meaning pornography which included the rape tree camp. This has the potential of getting many of his followers, including well-meaning older and religious followers who may not be aware of the law, arrested.
Arthur is in prime form, however, and like previous episodes, is now tuning his message to be more acceptable. Now he is working with other child rescue organizations onsite. Now he says there are bodies all over the desert, something he seemed not to know before. Now he is conducting an “evidence class” for his volunteers by a member of the OathKeepers.
This scenario has everything in common with previous Lewis Arthur soap operas. Injustice is uncovered. Law Enforcement is violating Lewis and VOP’s rights, ignoring evidence, discarding vets, refusing to do their jobs. There is a conspiracy against Lewis led by the police brass and the City of Tucson. If law enforcement won’t do their jobs, Lewis Arthur sure as hell will… and this time people, it’s for the children.
Arthur is always careful not to insult the “boots on the ground” cops. They’re all great guys who understand and agree with his mission. They’re prevented from doing their jobs by the brass and laws passed by Obama. The conspiracy is everybody, just not them.
Finally, in answer to the question “Why attack Lewis Arthur”, there are the donations and the diversion of good will that could go to legitimate organizations. In terms of good will, it’s not the zealots who would donate regardless. It’s the friend of a friend who has some money to give. A friend he respects tells him there are some guys doing good things at the border. The guy takes it at face value and sends gift cards to Lewis Arthur rather than donating to an organization that can actually help.
Throughout his Facebook Live Videos, Lewis Arthur insists that his detractors are keyboard warriors, while he and his crew (and he says this continuously) are down there in the desert “pounding sand”.
What remains unclear is what all that “pounding sand” is accomplishing. Arthur has random groups of armed VOP volunteers roaming the deserts around Tucson in 110 degree heat. He mentions grand plans: Men on mountaintops, helicopters, cordons of warriors confronting the cartels, forward operating positions, confrontations with dirty ranchers. He says of the cartel we’re going to “stack these guys” indicating more than just a search and rescue mission. It is clear that Lewis Arthur does not know what his mission is or what his pounding sand is going to accomplish.
As mentioned above, his live streaming of the encounter with the illegal young man showed that he had no understanding of illegal immigration, immigration law, trafficking law, the desert around the border. It was cringeworthy to the extreme, and trumpeted with the headline “Possible Victim of Human Trafficking Found” (these videos were since removed)
There are a lot of bad outcomes that could happen with Lewis Arthur’s mission. Volunteers unused to Tucson desert extremes could drop from heat stroke. An illegal or fellow citizen could be blown away by an overly eager volunteer. Arthur mentions he checks DD-214’s for his veterans but never mentions a criminal background check on his volunteers. He plans to rescue children and possibly place them with volunteers whose background he is unfamiliar with. There could be a standoff with law enforcement. The conspiracy threads surrounding this could lead to violence against an innocent city council person or realtor. Ranchers Arthur has determined are “dirty” could be assaulted or killed. Arthur has stated in his latest (as of this article) video that he allows his teams to create their own ROE (Rules of Engagement) and he stated that combat veterans lead the teams and they decide when it’s okay to open fire. The possible scenarios are endless and frightening.
Lewis loves to mention conspiracies but then take the conversation right back to God. His God. A strong God. Lewis encourages these conspiracies and by all reports was a believer in FEMA death camps among other discredited ideas. In his most recent videos Arthur has mentioned CEMEX multiple times and indicated the trails he has “discovered” all cross CEMEX properties. He is fanning the flames of the CEMEX conspiracy.
A House of Gift Cards
Finally we come to a big area of concern with Veterans on Patrol: donations and gift cards. Arthur claims transparency, but there is no indication he is even logging donations. The status of Veterans on Patrol is unclear. At different times Arthur refers to it as a church and a Samaritan organization. What’s clear is the fact that it is not a 501c3 not for profit. It is unclear whether Lewis can legally accept these donations of supplies, gift cards and apparently property for his bases.
Lewis Arthur’s supporters point to the fact that he solicits donations in the form of supplies and gift cards. He does not accept cash. This is probably because:
- The status of Veterans on Patrol is unknown. They are not a charity or following the rules of a charity.
- They refused to file a one page form with the state allowing them to use ‘Veteran’ in the name of their organization when soliciting donations. Hence VOP. Instead they said they would consider changing the name.
- From Facebook it is clear that many donors are sending VISA gift cards loaded with cash and VOP has solicited these. This is cash. Many of those cards allow PIN numbers to be created which allows a quick conversion to cash. If VOP has a problem with cash, why are they taking cash?
Again, the status of Lewis Arthur’s VOP organization is unclear and his record keeping is an unknown quantity. The State Attorney General of Arizona needs to look into VOP’s finances to determine if they are #doingitright.
At this point in his “operation”, Lewis Arthur and VOP have 60,000 followers on Facebook. He is being sent daily deliveries of drones, multi-hundred dollar tents, tac-gear, night vision goggles, infrared scopes, walkie talkies and base stations. This doesn’t include the gift cards. If only 1000 of Lewis’ followers donated $100, that’s $100,000.00 in donations. This is most likely a very low estimate and the average donation, when you figure in $800 drones, $200 radios, $400 cameras and stacks and stacks of gift cards, is probably well over $100.
The donations could well lead to Lewis Arthur’s downfall. This operation is probably far bigger than he expected. A convicted felon with a non-registered charity taking in hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of donations sounds like it presents a very real opportunity for a government investigation. Lewis and VOP cannot stop broadcasting the donations in live feeds, nor the “unboxing porn” showing the “blessings” received, because this is what keeps people donating to his operation. The necessity of Lewis’ direct involvement and these “blessing” videos are a major Achilles heel in #OperationBackyardBrawl.
As attacks against his operation have escalated, Arthur has done his best to mellow his online persona. He still rants and raves about things like adult underwear found in the desert, but in other videos, he tries to present as a calm, cool and rational man who is just trying to save children. One personality is #gettinghimsome, while his more rational twin is just #doingitright. Send gift cards to whichever one appeals to you more, or maybe you like them both.
As the likes continue to spin up and the donations hit the UPS Store like an avalanche, one thing is still clear: Lewis Arthur is the King of Facebook.
Stay tuned for more updates on the activities of Lewis Arthur and Veterans on Patrol by staff reporter following the action from Tucson, Stephen Larpington.