Man linked to Honduran gang found in Avondale drop house

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AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Officers detained nearly two dozen suspected illegal immigrants after raiding a drop house in Avondale Friday morning.

IIMPACT Task Force detectives found 22 undocumented immigrants and one suspected human smuggler after serving a search warrant at the home near Avondale Boulevard and Yuma Street at approximately 8 a.m.

The home did not have utilities.

The male and female illegal immigrants were from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Two of them were juveniles.

It's believed they crossed into the United States in the last few days.

One of the Hondurans, Mario Lopez-Ramirez, 24, is believed to be involved with the notoriously violent “MS 13” gang, according to DPS. This group was implicated in at least three homicides.

Lopez-Ramirez, who DPS officials said ran from officers as they entered the suspected drop house, is thought to have been the shooter in an attempted homicide in Washington, D.C., in December 2009.

Three of the rescued undocumented immigrants were taken to the hospital for medical treatment, including one who was admitted into intensive care.

Charges against the suspected human smuggler are pending. He will be booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail in Phoenix. The undocumented immigrants will be turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The investigation was initiated after neighbors saw suspicious activity and called authorities.

IIMPACT consists of the Phoenix Police Department, DPS and ICE.