Drop house bust in west Phoenix - 12 victims, 5 suspects

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Aerial report

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

On Jan. 8, 2009, a man made a 9-1-1 call stating he and six other people were being held against their will by armed "coyotes", or human smugglers. The police dispatcher was able to locate which house the emergency call came from.

Phoenix Police responded to the home at 3317 N. 85th Lane in Phoenix and secured the area after a man came out of the home and quickly ran back in. The Phoenix Police Department's Special Assignment Unit (SAU) entered the home where they found 12 individuals inside. They also observed several characteristics indicating the home was an active drop house. Also found in the home was a 9mm handgun and a shotgun.

Detectives with the multi-agency Illegal Immigration Prevention & Apprehension Co-op Team (IIMPACT) administered by the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) then responded to the scene and conducted an investigation. The investigation revealed that 7 of the 12 individuals in the home were victims and the other 5 were suspected "coyotes". All the victims were turned over to ICE. The 5 suspected human smugglers were arrested. The longest the victims, all male, had been in this drop house was one day.

IIMPACT identified all seven victims as Mexican Nationals. The investigation showed the victims had been recently smuggled into the country and were being extorted while being transported to different locations throughout the United States.

Arrested: Arminda Guadalupe Silva-Perez, Palacios Raul Seravio, Cesar Francisco Rimero-Diaz, Felipe Marquez-Marquez, and Juan Olmos Escobar.

Charges: One count (each) human smuggling, one count (each) extortion, one count (each) kidnapping. All five suspects are Mexican Nationals and were booked into the 4th Avenue Jail in Phoenix.