Deputies arrest 9 in Arpaio's latest identity theft raid

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Maricopa County sheriff's deputies arrested nine people in another employer sanctions raid.

According to MCSO spokesman Sgt. Brandon Jones, the investigation into Circle B Grading & Hauling Inc. goes back several months, when deputies received information that the company was hiring illegal immigrants who were using false identification.

Search warrant in hand, deputies converged on the company's headquarters, which is southeast of 75th Avenue and Union Hills Drive near Arrowhead Towne Center in Glendale, Monday morning.

Jones said eight of the night people arrested were taken into custody for alleged identity theft, which is a felony charge.

"In many cases illegal aliens are stealing the identities of U.S. citizens to gain employment which contributes to our unemployment problems," Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said in a news release. "Given the state of our local and national economy, this should not be tolerated."

Monday's operation was the 59th of its kind. Since the first of these raids, deputies have arrested more than 600 people. In previous operations, all of the suspects found to be using stolen identities to get jobs were illegal immigrants, according to MCSO.

In addition to "opening up job opportunities for legal residents," Arpaio said his employer sanctions/identity theft operations could put a dent in potential voter fraud.

"ID theft is a growing concern in a number if U.S. states as people fear that illegal immigrants may use these false identities to register to vote in elections where they legally have no voice," the sheriff explained.

Arpaio said his department will be turning over the names of all of the identity theft suspects to the Elections Department "to verify that this is not happening."

Monday's operation comes one month and one day after Arpaio's 58th raid. Deputies arrested 31 people in that operation.

According to the Arizona Corporation Commission, Circle B Grading & Hauling was incorporated in November 2006. No other information about the company was immediately available.

Arpaio's controversial raids and their consequences are the topic of a documentary called "Two Americans," which premiered Friday at the Arizona International Film Festival in Tucson.

The hour and 40 minute documentary tells the story of Katherine Figueroa, now 12, who in 2009 was watching television when she saw her parents being arrested during Arpaio's raid at the Phoenix car wash where they worked.

The film looks at all sides of the contentious issue of illegal immigration, getting up close and personal with those who deal with it on a daily basis.