Longtime Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever is dead at 60 after his truck went off the road in Northern Arizona while on a family hunting trip.
In his 16 years as sheriff of a border county located in one of the busiest smuggling corridors in the country, Dever, a Republican, rose to national prominence as an advocate for stronger border enforcement.
Dever was known for having a measured response to border issues, but he sharpened his tone in 2010 after his friend, rancher Robert Krentz, was killed on his land northeast of Douglas. Dever blamed the killing on the unsecured border, deducing that it was probably carried out by a cross-border criminal. The crime has yet to be solved.
The Krentz killing triggered a wave of concern about border-related crime in Arizona, and helped get Arizona’s immigration enforcement law, SB1070, passed by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer. Dever was one of Arizona’s sheriffs who asked to legally defend the state’s controversial law in federal court.
Dever also joined other Arizona sheriffs in slamming the Obama administration over a botched federal operation that lost track of weapons sold to suspect straw purchasers for Mexican drug gangs.