PHOENIX -- The former National Deputy Chief of the Border Patrol is in Southwest Arizona speaking with border officials about a potential threat.
Ron Colburn said there is U.S. intelligence information that suggests Mideast terrorist groups are keeping tabs on the state's porous border and finding ways to partner with Mexican drug cartels to make the trek north.
"Based on the intelligence resources and information at my disposal and my knowledge of the state of the border, we are at high risk right now," said Ron Colburn. "The threat is real. We are not immune to an attack."
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio echoed Colburn's words last week.
"Anybody can cross the border," he told Fox News' Sean Hannity. "They look at CNN and Fox...you're trying to tell me they don't know all the politicians running for office saying 'the border must be secured?' They know it's not secured. So why not utilize that 2,000-mile border to sneak across? That's just common sense."
Among the U.S. intelligence organizations, there is a significant concern that a current "outreach" between various terrorist groups and the cartels in Mexico is already underway.
"Smuggling someone over who might be carrying a biological weapon, chemical weapon or a weapon of mass destruction is a piece of cake for them," explained Colburn. "That's what they are there to do, as long as they make money at it."
Arpaio added that both U.S. and overseas intelligence is vital, especially for borders that will never be fully closed.
"We will never, never secure that border 100 percent," he said. "We have to take action overseas using intelligence and other means."