Police nab suspected human smugglers, free victims

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PHOENIX -- Police have arrested two smugglers and freed 14 illegal immigrants who were being held against their will at a house in west Phoenix.

Authorities say they received a call from a woman who claimed her relatives were being held at the home for ransom. Police discovered the residence was being used as a "drop house" for illegal immigration when they went to the site for a welfare check Saturday night.

Police surrounded the house and arrested two suspected human smugglers, sometimes called coyotes.

Phoenix Police Officer James Holmes says Omar Gonzalez-Franco, 28, and a second unidentified suspect have been booked into jail on human smuggling and kidnapping related offenses.

Police say the illegal immigrants had apparently been held for several days and some of them reported being assaulted.

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