Speeding stop leads to arrest of 12 illegal immigrants

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CAMP VERDE - The following is a press release from the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office:

On September 28, 2008, at approximately 6:15 A.M., a Yavapai County Sheriff's Office deputy stopped a white van for excessive speed on the I17 near Camp Verde. The deputy also noticed that the van was dramatically sagging in the rear and swerving side to side. Once stopped, the deputy found people stacked on top of each other inside the van as they attempted to remain concealed from outside view.

The driver provided a Mexican license with the name Angel Rodriguez and the deputy determined he was involved in the human smuggling of the 12 persons riding in the van. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Officials were contacted, interviewed the subjects by phone, and confirmed they were all illegal aliens.

The driver and 12 passengers were transported to the Camp Verde Jail pending transfer to ICE custody. During follow-up, the deputy learned the driver lied about his name and had purchased fraudulent identification from "a guy" in Phoenix. The deputy discovered the driver's true name was Israel Rojas and Rojas admitted to picking up the passengers from a drop house in Phoenix. Rojas was taking his passengers to various locations including Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Texas. Rojas was in possession of $432.00 in cash and a promissory note for $1000.00 apparently for negotiation as part of delivery arrangements.

Some of the detainees told deputies they agreed to pay $500.00 for the transportation after securing work at their selected destination.

As a result of the investigation, Rojas was booked on 12 counts of Human Smuggling, Possession of Fraudulent Documents and Identity Theft.