ICE finds smuggled infant in Phoenix drop house

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PHOENIX – Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) found an approximately 1-month-old baby at a suspected human smuggling drop house Monday night.

While searching the home near 12th Street and Dunlap Avenue, agents found a mother and her juvenile daughter, both Mexican citizens. They also found the infant, who had apparently been smuggled into the country and was not related to the mother or daughter.

The suspected human smuggler believed to be operating the drop house refused to identify the infant’s family. CPS took custody of the child while ICE agents worked with the Mexican Consulate to find the baby’s relatives.

Consulate officials found the parents, who had been apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol on Monday while trying to illegally cross the border through the desert.

“It is not unusual for parents to arrange for their young children to be smuggled separately while they attempt to enter the United States through the desert,” said Matt Allen, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Arizona, a press release. “Fortunately, in this instance, the child was found safe. But parents who contract with human smugglers should remember they are delivering their children into the hands of criminals, criminals who’ve been all too willing in the past to put a child’s welfare at stake for their own personal gain.”

Consulate officials are working with CPS to reunite the family.

The mother and daughter found at the drop house were returned to Mexico.