Monday, September 8, 2008

4 arrested, 13 recovered from suspected drophouse (Arizona Republic)

4 arrested, 13 recovered from suspected drophouse

by Adam Sneed - Sept. 8, 2008 03:36 PM
The Arizona Republic

Four men were arrested Monday in connection with human smuggling at a suspected drophouse in Phoenix.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials arrested three men on suspicion of being human smugglers and one man on suspicion of guiding the others to the drophouse.

Phoenix Police also discovered 13 suspected undocumented immigrants, including three children, inside the house in the 3100 block of West Madison Street.

Phoenix police received a tip that the house was a "chop shop," said Bart Graves, public information officer with the Department of Public Safety.

Police stopped a car leaving the property and discovered narcotics and a list, believed to contain the names of victims held against their will in the house.

Graves said Phoenix Police were investigating the house when another car pulled up and a person inside fled on foot after seeing police.

Phoenix Police called DPS and ICE to the scene because they believed violence, extortion and smuggling were taking place inside the house. The agencies are working together as part of the Illegal Immigration Prevention & Apprehension Co-op Team, which coordinates intelligence between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

When officials entered the house, they found the 13 people, all believed to be undocumented immigrants. Officials also found a shotgun and a baseball bat inside the house.

Graves said law enforcement officials believe the suspected undocumented immigrants were dropped at the house Monday. He said they still had shoes, which coyotes usually remove from their victims right away.

Graves said officials believe the coyotes were associated with cartel groups and ICE will interview them at length.

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