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‘We Build the Wall’ Victim Says ‘I Wish Them Well in Their Cavity Searches’

‘We Build the Wall’ Victim Says ‘I Wish Them Well in Their Cavity Searches’

A south Texas butterfly conservationist has a message for Steve Bannon and three others arrested on Thursday for fraud and money laundering in what the feds describe as a border wall fundraising scheme.

“I just wish them well in their cavity searches,” says Marianna Treviño-Wright, executive director of the National Butterfly Center.

Treviño-Wright was targeted by We Build the Wall late last year, when she sought to stop the construction of a barrier beside the center’s nature preserve along the American side of the Rio Grande, 100 acres that the organization employs to educate the public “about the value of biodiversity, the beauty of the natural world, the wonder of butterflies, particularly, and the powerful role they play in maintaining healthy ecosystems and sustainable food resources.” We Build the Wall’s founder, disabled Air Force combat veteran Brian Kolfage, tweeted allegations that Treviño-Wright was in league with a drug cartel and sex trafficking children.

A Nov. 15, 2019, tweet featured a video of a car being chased down a dusty road by two Border Patrol vehicles, sirens wailing.

“Here’s border patrol chasing Reynosa Cartel members right next to the Butterfly center which openly supports illegal immigration and sex trafficking of women and children. Come on butterfly center we did our homework,” he wrote. 

A tweet the next day read, “What’s not funny @NatButterflies is how you decline to comment on the rampant sex trade taking place on your property and the death bodies? Any comment? Or is it all for the butterflies? Should I post the govt reports of such crimes or maybe we’ll give it to the media!”

The motive behind such outrageous accusations seems clear when you take a look at We Build the Wall’s one previous project. This was a stretch of wall on private property in Sunland Park, New Mexico, begun in late May 2019. 

Kolfage had founded We Build the Wall the previous year as a GoFundMe effort with a stated goal of raising $1 billion that would be turned over to the government to build a border wall. Some 300,000 people contributed, but the total came to just $23 million. That was $973 million short of the target, and GoFundMe’s usual protocol called for Kolfage to return the money.

Kolfage then connected with Bannon, along with the two other men now under indictment, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea. They cooked up a new approach and GoFundMe agreed to let We Build the Wall keep the money if it actually built one, with a private contractor on private property.

A landowner on the border town of Sunland Park gave We Build the Wall permission in an area that is zoned for big construction projects. Sunland Park Mayor Javier Perea later told The Daily Beast that the group could have easily secured the necessary permits.

Instead, the group went in the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend last year and secured a permit only for a 5-foot rock wall. Work on what appeared to be a much bigger effort began on Friday. A city inspector came to investigate but was denied access to the property.

The Tuesday after Memorial Day, city officials returned from the holiday to discover that construction of a 20-foot steel barrier was well on the way. The city issued a cease and desist order and Kolfage went right on Twitter.



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