A group of conspiracy-minded citizen investigators hunting for proof of child sex trafficking networks in the Tucson desert have hit on a new piece of supposed evidence: white crosses painted on the ground.
The group claims that the crosses are symbols meant to guide human sex traffickers.
“The coordinates in this video show a human trafficking corridor,” Michael Lewis Arthur Myer, the leader of one group promoting the theory, says in one Facebook video. “X’ marks the spot.”
But while the theory’s proponents see the crosses as more evidence of an international pedophile conspiracy for the benefit of global elites, experts say the crosses are just left-over tools from aerial mapping surveys.
The crosses are the latest fixation for believers in what they’ve dubbed “Operation Backyard Brawl,” a storyline started by an anti-homelessness group called “Veterans on Patrol” that’s proliferated on right-wing social media. But even as prominent figures on the conspiracy theory right have denounced the Arizona theory as just the latest iteration of Pizzagate, videos about the supposed sex camp continue to draw in tens of thousands of viewers via Facebook and YouTube.
The group in late May discovered of a homeless camp in a wooded area outside Tucson that it and their publicity-hungry leader, Michael Lewis Arthur Myer, were convinced it was actually a station on a global trafficking route.
Adding to the camp’s appeal on for conspiracy-minded social media users, the camp was discovered near an abandoned cement plant owned by Cemex, a massive Mexican construction firm that once donated to the Clinton Foundation. That tenuous connection made it easy for conspiracy-minded social media users to see the Arizona camp was an extension of the supposed child-sex slave ring run underneath a D.C. area pizza shop, otherwise known as Pizzagate.