Suspected human smugglers arrested in AZ

March 26, 2010 4:28:34 AM PDT
Arizona authorities say they arrested 10 human smugglers and rescued 50 illegal immigrants held in drop houses in Phoenix in two separate incidents this week. Detectives from the Illegal Immigration Prevention and Apprehension Co-op Team made the first arrests Tuesday after a three-month investigation into a human smuggling organization by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Authorities say three suspected coyotes were taken into custody from a drop house, and 12 Mexican immigrants being held against their will were rescued.

On Wednesday, 45 people were found in a Phoenix home. The Department of Public Safety says seven were identified as suspected human smugglers and the remaining 38 were illegal immigrants from Mexico.

All 50 suspected illegal immigrants were turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.