Thursday, May 19, 2011

Officers nab suspected illegal immigrants (Mohave Daily News)

Officers nab suspected illegal immigrants

Published: Thursday, May 19, 2011 2:13 AM MDT

GOLDEN VALLEY — The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday announced the arrest of more than half a dozen suspected illegal immigrants in Golden Valley over the weekend.

The suspected immigrants were arrested early Saturday morning following an all-night search effort coordinated between the Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Public Safety and the office of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

According to MCSO spokeswoman Trish Carter, the suspected illegal immigrants were discovered just after 10 p.m. Friday, when an MCSO officer traveling southbound on Aztec Road near Unkar Drive observed a sport utility vehicle approaching him at a high rate of speed. The officer’s radar clocked the SUV at 62 mph in a 45-mph zone, and he swung around to perform a traffic stop for excessive speed.

As he approached the late-model Toyota 4Runner, however, the deputy saw several people jump out of the vehicle and run into the desert. One man stayed behind and allegedly approached the deputy in a combative manner.

“Apparently the one occupant was left behind to act as a decoy,” Carter said.

She said the deputy struggled with the man briefly, striking him in the face before the man also ran off into the desert. The deputy then called the situation into dispatch, and within minutes, other deputies had begun establishing a perimeter around the area, receiving additional assistance from a DPS search and rescue helicopter based out of Kingman.

Search efforts proved fruitless until the next day when, at 7:20 a.m., deputies were dispatched to the corner of Highway 68 and Marana, where they encountered three Hispanic males who had been spotted loitering in the area.

“Upon arrival, we contacted all three subjects, and none of them could speak English,” Carter said. “We requested paperwork regarding passports and immigration records, to which they responded they did not have any.”

Deputies contacted ICE, who determined shortly thereafter that the three men were undocumented aliens. The men were taken into custody and transported to the county jail, while the search for their cohorts continued.

Not long after, deputies contacted another two Hispanic males walking in the area of Marana and Chino. When asked for identification, one of the men allegedly admitted they were in the country illegally.

Once those two were arrested, deputies took Magma Road on their way back to Highway 68 and spotted two more Hispanic men running south toward the highway. They, too, were apprehended and taken to the county jail.

“The last two were also interviewed by ICE and were determined to be illegal immigrants,” Carter said. “We don’t truly book them into jail, so we don’t have mugshots. We transport them to the jail because ICE puts a hold on them, and they pick them up.”

While deputies believed as many as 10 men might have initially escaped from the Toyota 4Runner, the active search had been called off by Wednesday following the arrest of the seven confirmed illegal aliens. Carter said that deupties throughout Golden Valley remain vigilant, however, should one of the remaining party pop up in the near future.

Saturday’s was the MCSO’s largest mass arrest of suspected illegal immigrants since Feb. 28, when deputies apprehended 10 men who had been spending the night in a van outside a residence in Wikieup. In that case, Carter said, the owner of the residence had approached the van in the middle of the night, causing the men inside to flee, after which he called the Sheriff’s Office, who combed the area and found the van’s occupants.

Those arrested were Juan Pablo Galeas, 36; Mario Rolando Ixquereux, 32; Juan Rosario Tziquin, 18; Fredy Enrique Melendrez-Sandoval, 33; Carlos Gomez, 30; Jose Luis Mendosa, 24; and Juan Carlos Silan-Sun, 20.

While an article in Wednesday’s edition of Daily News indicated that arrests of illegal immigrants have been down in Mohave County in recent years thanks to a slow economy and the state’s tough 2010 immigration law, SB 1070, Carter noted that illegal immigration still remains an issue in Mohave County, especially given its proximity to several major highways.

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