MCSO crackdown on human smuggling ends in 42 arrests

Human smuggling crackdown

Credit: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

A total of 16 illegal aliens were arrested in two days during a Maricopa County Sheriff's Office operation in the Southeast Valley.


by Tami Hoey

Posted on November 16, 2012 at 10:17 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 20 at 12:39 PM

PHOENIX -- A 16 day crackdown on human smuggling has ended in the arrest of 42 illegal immigrants,

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office says in the last two days alone, 16 illegal immigrants were arrested. Two of these incidents ended with short vehicle chases through the desert as the suspects attempted to get away.

The most recent chase came this week when six suspected illegal immigrants, two of whom were in the trunk of the vehicle, drove into the desert, trying to get away from deputies. One of the men in the trunk suffered a laceration to the head, and had to be taken to Maricopa Medical Center for treatment.

In another incident, Sheriff’s deputies tried to approach a speeding vehicle, but the driver fled, crashing through a barb wire fence into the desert. The suspect vehicle was damaged, and even had four flat tires, but the driver still managed to drive on for another mile. Finally, the car stopped and the occupants fled on foot into the brush. Deputies found one suspect hiding in a backyard of a nearby home,  and all others hiding in a wash.

The Sheriff’s office is cracking down on not only human smuggling, but the drug trade as well.

Earlier this month, detectives from the Sheriff’s Human Smuggling Unit observed a red vehicle on the side of a road in southern Maricopa County,  being loaded with what appeared to be large bundles of marijuana. Detectives approached the vehicle and four Hispanic males immediately fled into the desert while the vehicle, occupied by two other Hispanic males, sped off. It came to an abrupt stop a short distance later where the two occupants fled on foot into the desert.

Sheriff’s detectives searched the area for more than an hour and were able to locate and arrest four illegal immigrants. Inside the vehicle were three large bales of marijuana, weighing about 120 lbs, with a street value of $62K.

“Once again the entry into Maricopa County from Mexico by illegal aliens does not seem to have subsided by evidence of numerous arrests made by my deputies,” said Sheriff Joe Arpaio. “Aside from their determination to get away we will continue to make every effort to pursue and apprehend human smugglers as well as drug traffickers. More and more illegal aliens are attempting to escape which places my deputies in dangerous positions. In the near future I will be issuing automatic weapons for all my deputies”.

Authorities say the suspects in these recent arrests paid between $2,000 and $3,500 to be illegally smuggled into the United States. The destinations of the suspects included California, Missouri, Tennessee, New Jersey, Colorado, Phoenix, Texas and Idaho.

All the suspected illegal immigrants admitted to being Mexican Nationals and admitted crossing into the country through the Arizona-Mexico Border.

To date, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has arrested more than 5,748 illegal immigrants allegedly involved in human smuggling,