31 Illegal aliens detained during traffic stops

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CAMP VERDE - On July 30, 2008, a Yavapai County Sheriff's Office deputy stopped a white Chevy Astro Van for impeding traffic on the I17, north of Camp Verde. The vehicle appeared overloaded as it was sitting low on the rear suspension which caused the driver to swerve within the lane. The deputy contacted the driver and noticed several passengers crammed in the back of the vehicle, including a female passenger lying on the floor between the front seats. The driver, identified as 34-year-old Arturo Rodriguez-Tellez, provided a Mexican Chauffer license and the deputy determined he and the passengers were illegal aliens. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement was contacted from the scene, conducted phone interviews of the subjects, and verified their undocumented status. The van contained a total of 15 passengers and all were transported, utilizing two YCSO detention vans, to the Camp Verde Detention center. One of the detention vehicles was driven by a member of the Volunteer in Protection (VIP) program. These folks provide critical manpower need allowing deputies to remain in the field and expedite the transportation and processing of prisoners.

As this traffic stop was initiated, an assisting deputy noticed a silver Ford Focus sedan traveling in tandem with the Chevy Astro Van. The vehicle was stopped and found to contain six additional illegal aliens who were also held and transported to the Camp Verde Detention Center.

On July 31, 2008, a YCSO deputy stopped a black Ford Expedition on the I17 north of Camp Verde, and found 10 apparent illegal aliens inside the vehicle. ICE was contacted and verified all the occupants were in the county illegally. An ICE transport vehicle arrived a short time later to take custody of the group pending deportation proceedings.

This human smuggling activity may be the result of law enforcement action involving drop houses recently discovered in Mesa and Phoenix earlier last week. Human smugglers who are attempting to avoid being detected like their counterparts in these instances, likely decided to move their human cargo quickly out of urban areas.