Suspected human smugglers flee through window when officers arrive at Mesa home

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

MESA -- Law enforcement officials took 15 people into custody at a drop house in Mesa Friday morning.

The investigation began last week after a Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol officer stopped a vehicle that turned out to be transporting illegal immigrants.

At approximately 11 a.m. Friday, investigators from the Illegal Immigration Prevention Co-Op Team (IIMPACT) went to a home near Broadway Road and Center Street, which they suspected to be a working drop house.

When officers arrived, the suspected human smugglers or "coyotes" began fleeing from a back bedroom window. DPS officer Robert Bailey said officers apprehended six coyotes.

Once inside the home, investigators found eight men and one woman believed to be undocumented immigrants who were illegally smuggled into the country within the past few days.

The illegal immigrants were headed to various locations in the Midwest. Each immigrant reportedly paid about $2,500 to be smuggled into the country from Mexico. The nine immigrants will be turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel.

Authorities do not believe the nine immigrants were being held against their will.

The six suspects will be booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail on human smuggling charges.