DPS: Illegal immigrants held against their will at Valley business

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

Police looking for business owners

Detectives from the IllegalImmigration Prevention and Co-op Team (IIMPAACT) are currently conducting an investigation at 3536 West Osborn Avenue, Suite #8, in Phoenix.This location is a business district and the specific address is for Espana Custom Cabinets.

IIMPACT Detectives began this investigation earlier this morning when they received information from Phoenix Police Department that their patrol officers had uncovered several individuals being held against their will at Espana Custom Cabinets.

Phoenix PD initially received an anonymous tip that undocumented aliens were being held the business.Phoenix PD personnel conducted an entry at the location and while the officers were in the process of checking the business, three suspects (coyotes) attempted to flee from the business.Canine units were deployed, and they initially located two of the suspects hiding in another section of the building complex and the third was caught immediately close by after the first two were taken into custody.

There were three employees at the business that are currently being questioned by Detectives and 16 individuals currently being identified as undocumented aliens (UDA's)that are being detained.The group paid about $1,600 to be brought into the U.S. and upon reaching the Osborn business address, they were held against their will with threats of violence if they did not provide approximately another $2,800 for their release.The group was threatened as they made phone calls to family members to obtain the additional money.

Espana Custom Cabinets is an active woodworking business contained within a small warehouse.There is a second story within the warehouse structure like an office area where the UDA's were being held.

Two of the three suspects are at a Valley area hospital and the third is being interviewed.They will be charged with human smuggling, extortion, kidnapping and possibly other felony charges.