IIMPACT: Busting drop houses more difficult due to changing operations

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PHOENIX - Finding drop houses is becoming more difficult for law enforcement because they say the human smuggling operation is changing.

According to the Department of Public Safety, the "heat" brought on by additional border patrols, Senate Bill-1070 and Arizonans reporting more possible drop houses has caused human smuggling to become more underground.

IImpact, made up of Phoenix police, ICE and DPS officers have been investigating and raiding so-called drop houses in the Valley for the past three years.

This summer IImpact officials say they have noticed that violence is down and the so-called coyotes or human smugglers are trying to disguise their drop houses a little more.

Capt. Fred Zumbo, with DPS, explains, "There are some organizations that are actually taking care of the properties. When they go to rent the properties they present themselves as a family, male, female and children. The landlord says ‘I've got a nice family moving in here’ and the next thing you know, you never see that family again and it is turned into a drop house."

Because human smuggling has gone more underground, Captain Zumbo says they have seen fewer drop houses this summer compared to summers in the past.