Exotic dancer arrested on human smuggling charges

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Maria Bustamante By Andrew Michalscheck Maria Bustamante By Andrew Michalscheck
By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck
By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. -- The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office said they arrested an exotic dancer last week for allegedly trying to smuggle six illegal immigrants into Phoenix.

On the evening of November 9, a PCSO deputy stopped a minivan that was driving westbound on Interstate 10 near milepost 216 for multiple traffic violations.

Maria Bustamante, 33, and six men were inside the vehicle.

Bustamante reportedly told the deputy that she was giving her friends a ride from Tucson to Phoenix, but she was unable to provide the names of any of the men in the van.

According to the PCSO, all six of the men admitted to being in the country illegally.

Bustamante eventually told deputies that a friend had asked her to take the men to Phoenix, and that she knew they were in the country illegally.

She went on to reveal that the father of her children is behind bars in Texas, and that she planned to drive to Texas after taking the men to Phoenix.

Bustamante was arrested and booked into the Pinal County Adult Detention Center on six counts of human smuggling, which is a class six felony.

All six of the men were turned over to the United States Border Patrol.

Following Bustamante’s arrest, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said his deputies remain committed to preventing people from entering the country illegally.

“My deputies continue to do their job attempting to stop those who are involved with drug and human smuggling from traveling freely through the United States,” said Babeu.