DPS officers capture major player in human smuggling ring

Posted: Updated:

AVONDALE -- Department of Public Safety officers believe they have apprehended a major player in a human smuggling ring.

As part of an investigation, DPS officers served a search warrant at a suspected drop house at 118th Avenue just south of Buckeye Road in Avondale Friday morning.

The search warrant follows several weeks of investigation beginning with an initial drop house. Then, DPS officers pulled over a truckload of undocumented immigrants after a pursuit a few weeks ago. Continued investigation led to another drop house last week.

Believing that they were going to find another drop house Friday morning, they served a search warrant at the home.

Inside the home DPS and local police officers found four adults and three kids, including a man they had been looking for over the last several months.

It turns out that man is a major player in a human smuggling ring. The man was taken into custody.

"This is a significant hit for the human trafficking cases that we're working here in the Valley," said DPS Lt. Fred Zumbo.

Zumbo said the man is part of a larger organization and law enforcement officials are working their way to dismantle that organization.