9 Held hostage in W. Valley drop house

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PHOENIX -- The following is a press release from the Dept. of Public Safety:

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On July 22nd at approximately 1:10 p.m. Phoenix Police Officers were contacted by a Hispanic male near 111th Lane and Campbell saying he had been held against his will at gun point and was beaten at a nearby drop house located at 4441 N. 111th Lane.

He told Officers there were additional victims being held. The man brought officers to a residence where the window screen had been broken out. Officers summoned IIMPACT Detectives.

Inside the house, detectives found 9 suspected UDA's (undocumented aliens), 8 males and 1 female. Two suspected human smugglers had fled before detectives arrived.

The victims told investigators they were being held for ransom. The smugglers were demanding $3,200 a piece to secure their freedom. The UDA's also said they had crossed the border into Arizona on July 12th and were taken to the house where they have been held ever since.

IIMPACT (Illegal Immigration Prevention & Apprehension Co-op Team) was formed almost a year ago. It is a multi-agency project managed by GIITEM of the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) that is designed to address rising crime associated with illegal immigration. IIMPACT is comprised of personnel from DPS, Phoenix Police, ICE and the Arizona Fraudulent Identification Task Force (AFIT). As the name implies, local, state and federal police agencies combine forces to impact international human smuggling organizations operating in Arizona.