MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. -- Eight undocumented immigrants were arrested Tuesday after human smuggling detectives with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office investigated a load vehicle.
Among those detained were a 3-year-old girl and her mother.
During the course of their investigation, detectives learned that the group was traveling from Mexico to states like Illinois, Michigan and Pennsylvania. They had reportedly paid between $1,800 and $5,000 to be smuggled into the United States.
All members of the group admitted to being Mexican nationals.
The child and her mother were turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, while the other six individuals were booked into the 4th Avenue Jail on human smuggling charges.
In the past five months, 13 children between the ages of 3 and 17 have been found in human smuggling vehicles by Maricopa County Sheriff Deputies and turned over to ICE.
“We have been experiencing something we have never seen before. It appears more children are being smuggled into the U.S. and are usually accompanied by total strangers,” said Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.