Illegal immigrants bail out of car on I-17; suspected drop house found in Phoenix

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Maricopa County sheriff's deputies detained nearly a dozen people in a suspected human-smuggling incident Wednesday and discovered a possible drop house in Phoenix. By Jennifer Thomas Maricopa County sheriff's deputies detained nearly a dozen people in a suspected human-smuggling incident Wednesday and discovered a possible drop house in Phoenix. By Jennifer Thomas
Esteban Ramirez By Jennifer Thomas Esteban Ramirez By Jennifer Thomas
Adrian Sanchez-Lopez By Jennifer Thomas Adrian Sanchez-Lopez By Jennifer Thomas
Florencio Lopez By Jennifer Thomas Florencio Lopez By Jennifer Thomas
Omar Hernandez By Jennifer Thomas Omar Hernandez By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Maricopa County sheriff's deputies detained nearly a dozen people in a suspected human-smuggling incident Wednesday and discovered a possible drop house in Phoenix.

Deputies conducted a traffic stop near Interstate 17 and Anthem Way at about 6:30 p.m. The driver stopped in an apartment complex parking lot and 10 people ran from the vehicle, according to MCSO officials. Deputies were able to immediately arrest three suspects.

Phoenix police and Department of Public Safety officers helped deputies conduct a search of the area and seven more suspects were arrested.

MCSO detectives said the group admitted to paying between $600 and $5,000 to be illegally smuggled into the United States with destinations of California and Florida. The group admitted to illegally crossing the U.S. border near Altar, Sasabee, and Nogales.

During the investigation, deputies uncovered a possible drop house and executed a search warrant at the home near Southern Avenue and 18th Street in Phoenix early Thursday morning.

Deputies reportedly found a male sleeping on the property, as well as indicators that the home was used recently as a drop house. The male was arrested after questioning.

Detectives determined that two of the 11 suspects detained were juveniles. One was a 15-year-old who was accompanied by his older brother. The other was an unaccompanied 17-year-old. All three were turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
 
Sheriff's detectives booked eight suspects into the Fourth Avenue Jail on state charges of human smuggling-related offenses.

They were identified as Esteban Ramirez, 20; Adrian Sanchez-Lopez, 20; Florencio Lopez, 30; Omar Hernandez, 19; Daniel Lopez-Basurto, 19; Manuel Vega-Garcia, 44; Jose Alfonso-Gomez, 25; Jorge Gonzalez-Duran, 26.