Friday, September 7, 2007

First time state's human smuggling law used on drop houses

This just in from the Maricopa county attorney's office -

First Drop House Human Smuggling Indictments Handed Down
Another Important Step in the Fight Against Illegal Immigration

Eight people have been indicted after being found by sheriff’s deputies inside a Glendale drop house, County Attorney Andrew Thomas announced today. One of the defendants is accused of being a drop house guard and an active participant in a human smuggling operation. The rest face charges for paying a coyote to smuggle them illegally into the United States. This represents the first time the state’s human smuggling law has been applied to illegal immigrants arrested as part of a drop house raid.

Instead of arresting the guard and handing over the other seven alleged co-conspirators to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Sheriff’s Office arrested the illegal immigrants and charged them with violating the state human smuggling statute.

“The Sheriff’s Office has been a dedicated and committed partner in the fight against illegal immigration,” said County Attorney Andrew Thomas. “I hope other local law enforcement agencies will follow Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s example and arrest illegal immigrants who have violated Arizona’s human smuggling law.”

The drop house that led to the charges was discovered on August 21.

“Hiring coyotes puts Valley neighborhoods in harm’s way by providing financial support for dangerous drop houses,” Thomas added. “Most drop houses are in the middle of Valley neighborhoods. The law-abiding citizens who live in these neighborhoods have a right to be protected from the crime and violence associated with illegal immigration. ”

For more information contact: Mike Anthony Scerbo, Public Information Officer (602) 506-3170 (office) or (602) 489-6913 (cell)

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