This Week on America's Most Wanted
Nationwide… MEXICAN DRUG VIOLENCE INFECTS AMERICA… John Walsh and America’s Most Wanted investigate the dark heart of the war on drugs, taking viewers to the source of the violence that’s spilled over our borders and is infecting American cities. Thousands of people have been killed in Mexico, as the drug cartels battle the government and each other for control of a multi-billion dollar illicit business.
Douglas, Arizona … JOAQUIN “CHAPO” GUZMAN-LOERA … When Mexican authorities seized 23.5 tons of cocaine from a ship at a port in Manzanillo last year, governments north and south of the border bolstered search efforts for the man they say is responsible: one of the world’s most notorious drug lords, Joaquin Guzman-Loera. The seizure — deemed to be by far the largest in Mexico’s history — had an estimated street value of $2.7 billion.
Phoenix, Arizona…PHOENIX GROUND ZERO… Phoenix, Ariz. is the nation’s fifth largest city — a fast-growing metropolis that’s become Ground Zero for a unique problem that has law enforcement coming face to face with a new form of an age-old crime. In the Valley of the Sun, the new trend in kidnapping for ransom is criminals targeting other criminals. Because of Arizona’s prime location on the U.S.-Mexico border, police say that most kidnap victims and suspects have ties back to Mexico’s seedy underworld.
Laredo, Texas… JOSEPH GARCIA… At only 21-years-old, cops say accused killer Joseph Garcia is a member of the Zetas, the main enforcement group for the Mexican Gulf Drug Cartel. Police say Garcia killed for the first time in 2003, and in November of 2008, the U.S. Marshals named him to their 15 Most Wanted list.
Phoenix, Arizona… PHOENIX GUNS… A large number of the high-powered weapons smuggled into Mexico and used by killer drug cartels begin their journey south after being purchased in the U.S. Many of the weapons are sold by gun dealers in the four border states: California, New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina… BRITTANEE MARIE DREXEL… Brittanee Marie Drexel, a 17-year-old high school junior, disappeared during a spring break trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C. late last month. Cops have had little to go on but are now investigating a possible sighting of Brittanee at a convenience store just outside of Myrtle Beach.
Skamania, Washington… MICHAEL AND TEVEN COLLINS… Thanks to AMW tipsters, Michael Collins and his 16-year-old son Teven were captured in late March after allegedly attacking a skier in Washington State and making off with his SUV. The Collins boys are charged with attempted murder and first degree robbery and are now awaiting trial.
In addition to the stuff for the show, the voting is finished and an Arizona detective has been named America’s Most Wanted All-Star.
May 14, 2009 – William Weigt, a detective with the Peoria, AZ, Police Department, has been chosen as the 2009 America’s Most Wanted All-Star Contest Grand Prize Winner. The contest, sponsored by Sprint and presented by America’s Most Wanted, recognizes the bravery of the nation’s First Responders. Weigt, who was paralyzed from the chest down after being shot by a suspect, exemplifies that bravery. A profile of Weigt will be featured on America’s Most Wanted Saturday, May 23 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
Detective Weigt was shot in 2005, while conducting a high-risk stop after a drug-related shooting. He awoke three days later to learn that he would be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Despite that, he has continued to make a difference in his community, and continues to work as an investigator in the robbery unit. In addition, he’s coordinated many fundraising events for local officers who died in the line of duty, and has been a motivational speaker for schools and other organizations. Weigt is also a youth football coach, and brought his team to the national championships in 2007.
Weigt was one of more than 1,000 First Responders nominated by members of the public in the America’s Most Wanted All-Star Contest, and was chosen by online voting as one of eight weekly finalists. Then, through votes cast by the public on the America’s Most Wanted website (www.amw.com) and via text message from Sprint phones, he was chosen as the Grand Prize winner.
America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh broke the news to the detective in a phone call from the show’s studio in Washington, DC. “I know you’ve made a lot of sacrifices since you were shot,” Walsh told the winner. “I consider you to be a real hero.”
“We congratulate Detective William Weigt on winning the 2009 All-Star Contest, and we’re humbled by his heroism and service to the community,” said Danny Bowman, president, iDEN Business Unit. “We at Sprint have an obligation to service the public safety community and our frontline responders, and we’re proud to sponsor the All-Star Contest for the fifth year.”
As the Grand Prize winner, Weigt will receive a check for $10,000 from Sprint and will be the guest of Sprint and John Walsh at the NASCAR SPRINT Cup Series™ All-Star Race in Charlotte, NC, on May 16. In addition, Weigt’s biography will be featured on the AMW website (www.amw.com/allstar), along with profiles of all the First Responders who were nominated for the contest.