Sheriff Arpaio arrests three MCSO officers

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PHOENIX –  A Maricopa County deputy and two jail officers are in jail, accused of playing roles in a drug and human smuggling operation.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio says 12 people were arrested during raids at homes and business county-wide Tuesday morning.   Three of those arrested are MCSO employees, and several more are still under investigation.

Deputy Alfredo Navarette, an ICE trained and certified officer who served for a while on the anti-smuggling unit, faces 19 felony charges.   Arpaio says his deputy smuggled illegal immigrants from Mexico to Arizona and California.   Navarette is also accused of providing intel from inside the MCSO to smugglers.

"Today's arrests hit close to home," Arpaio said, calling the deputy's suspected actions "despicable."

Two female detention officers were also arrested Tuesday at the Lower Buckeye Jail.   One of them, according to court paperwork, is the mistress of the smuggling leader, and was carrying $16,000 cash at the time of her arrest.

During the raids, deputies seized $200,000, weapons, and vehicles.

Arpaio says his office was tipped off about the suspect activity a year ago.