Played: August 17, 2022
Listen in to this introduction of a true crime story from the small town of Quartzsite. In this complex, 30-year story that started with a murder-for-hire plot between the town’s first two mayors and ends with a state of emergency.
Updated Date: Jul 28, 2022
Publish Date: Nov 19, 2021
So starting with number one Court sites history, which dates way back to the 1800s has as much to do with this story as the last 30 years of it. It started out literally as a watering hole for pioneers, Indians and settlers traveling and driving their wagons for Mexico to parts north and those in pursuit of gold headed west. Mhm. Yeah. Mhm. This is the current mayor norm. Simpson this gown was established mainly for the people building the old west. The pioneers traveling to California coming for the gold rush, coming for the gold here or to work the steamboats going up and down the colorado river. He was elected in 2016. He also owns a restaurant and an RV park in town courtside eventually lost its spark as a gold rush town but kept its foothold in the gem and mineral rich area that miners are still making their living out to this very day. This produced not just a home base for many plaster miners and french hard rock miners, but also for the black market communities that customarily follow the mining industry. This is Mark Goldberg says the earliest quartz site that I have any area with Syria really with french miners that were here, built a lot of the stone cabins that were here and did hard rock mining and plaster mining of course indians before that He's a local four wheeler enthusiast and the husband of town council member Linda Goldberg. The important point to note here is that most industries have traceable products or services if for instance, you want a tv commercial film for your business, you hire a film crew and they offer you the service of video production resulting in the product of a commercial. Both the product and the service could be traced back to the film crew, the gear they rented from the camera shop, the paychecks that came from your business agreement. All of that is discoverable by following the money and nearly every single revenue stream currently in existence in America can and most often is taxed and filed under a Social Security number or unemployment identifier because of that, there are very few industries that have no real traceable variables, but mining is one of these few industries, most miners work under the table. Most equipment and small operations is bought used or simply constructed and most importantly, there is no cataloging system anywhere in the world that could ever calculate or even estimate what or how many minerals, gems, stones, rocks, precious metals and everything else is buried in the earth. You just dig it up from the ground, polish it up in the back of your RV and sell it out of a tent at traveling gem shows this industry not only creates the perfect black market industry, it also attracts people who like the very product they deliver do not want to be found. So what does this all have to do with quartz site. Here's journalist and documentary filmmaker john right? People come to court site traditionally in the winter time for rocks and gems. That's the big deal in court site. Mm And why is that important? Well, two reasons actually this is Arizona Republic reporter Dennis Wagner. Well, they've got this huge gem and mineral show each september and october. That's the first reason and here's the second and the town just becomes flooded with what we affectionately call snowbirds. Uh, most of the elderly folks coming into uh enjoy the festivities which include rock and mineral shows, endless swap meets and all kinds of other festivals. I guess you'd call it, you got your drifters that come in, you got your snowbirds from Canada, you got your, you know, everybody so many different places, Montana, uh, Minnesota Illinois. It's just everywhere. I've run an RV park. I've got people from South Dakota, I've got them from colorado, I have them from Oregon Washington. You have a lot of people at the courtside from all over the country, mostly in the western U. S. And they find a place there. It means I found a place wherever it was they were, but they, they found it in Quartzsite Quartzsite was so rich in those days with such a diverse photography of these untraceable elements that it's very namesake was born of the nomenclature quartz. It's right in the name of the town. So now you have an essentially endless supply of products in the form of gemstones and minerals from in and around this town and an endless supply of services in the form of winter visitors that by the polished rocks and metals from a huge collection of tents that prop up during the colder months and the result is a cash only livelihood that sustains all manner of black market enthusiasts. And when I say a huge collection, I mean there's literally a tent city that materializes on the south side of the highway that ignites the activity of the entire town. The big tent comes in, they just set up with tables and there's all kinds of vendors about RVN, about tiny houses that was Marie, you'll remember her as one of the RV park owners. Here's Mark Goldberg and john right on the winter situation and they kind of organized the rock activities. They created the gem and mineral show the power out Like 53 years ago and it's been a mainstay of the community. It's an extreme seasonal swell. So you've got, you know, in the summertime it's just a few 1000 people if that sometimes it just feels extremely dead. And then in the wintertime it's the exact opposite. It's just this throng of people, Part of the charm of court site is this very transient thing. People are there, then they're gone, then they're, they're then they're gone. This brings us to # two. Its location has a huge part to play. It's situated not just on a major thoroughfare connecting Los Angeles to phoenix, it's also the first stop. Once you get past the mexican border town of Yuma to connect to the rest of the southwest and ultimately the rest of the nation. Here's Mayor Simpson on just why court sites location is and has been a corridor for opportunity. Former chief was part of our drug enforcement task force which involved the county parker police department and ours. There was no belief that our former chief was granting safe passage to the cartel. one newly hired officer stop the car on a routine traffic stop and it turned into Like a $1 million dollar drug bust that officer was terminated. You get it through court site, you've got high 10. I weigh 70-6095. You've got all directions when she hit portside the hub. Here's Lieutenant Gray speaking of his take on the highways running through town. We have everything I made your city would have with an interstate that comes through town. Of course you get anything and everything you can imagine. We have had fugitives out here. The U. S. Marshals were here yesterday. You do have a lot of these high dollar rigs and generators and the PS day in day out. You know, they were this interstate and they get a lot of dope and a lot of wanted people and the remoteness to has a big role to play. It's a remote area where a small town. This is a very large county But its sparsely populated, so to speak. You know, with only about 27,000 full time residents. That sparse population also means not a lot of law enforcement. On the roads, you have a lot of land and a small population, so a lot of times there's one trooper and maybe one police officer and one deputy in this air.