MCSO: Maryvale grocery store suspected of hiring employees illegally

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

MARYVALE, Ariz. -- Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio sent his Criminal Employment Squad to the West Valley Thursday to investigate the hiring practices of a Maryvale grocery store.

Sheriff Arpaio said his deputies served a search warrant at Lam’s Asian and International Food market after receiving a tip that several employees were hired illegally.

MCSO identified 21 employees who were believed to have used false identifications to secure a job.

Of the 21 detained on Thursday, 9 were taken into custody.

Due to the use of radio communication by employees in the store, MCSO said they had to take extra precautions during their investigation.

"We figured it would be very likely that employees would warn others to flee the premises using that radio system, so we manned the entrance and exit doors with several deputies to prevent anyone from bolting," said operations chief David Trombi.

Thursday's investigation was the 70th criminal employment operation undertaken by Sheriff Arpaio and his office since 2008.

The investigations have led to a total of 684 arrests, with all of the suspects eventually determined to have been in the United States illegally.