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IIMPACT detectives investigate west Phoenix drop house

Six suspected human smugglers arrested, 17 victims rescued

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 -

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On February 20, 2009, IIMPACT was contacted by the Phoenix Police Department after they received a 911 telephone call from an undocumented alien, who reported he and several others were being held against their will.

Later that same day, after further investigation, IIMPACT detectives located the drop house where the victim was being held at 1601 N. 61st Avenue in Phoenix. Two subjects were detained after they left the residence. At approximately 10:30 a.m., the Phoenix Police Department’s Special Assignment Unit served a search warrant at the residence. The home was occupied by 18 people. They were taken into custody.

Information obtained from within the residence indicated the residence located across the street at 1602 N. 61st Avenue was involved in the human smuggling operation. Two subjects, Jose and Lidia Vargas, were taken into custody at this residence as part of this human smuggling operation.

Four additional subjects at the original residence were identified as Coyotes, or human smugglers. A total of 17 UDA’s, including sixteen males, and one female, were rescued.

During a search of the house, detectives seized a stolen SKS assault rifle, a stolen 357 Smith and Wesson pistol, 10 pounds of marijuana, a useable amount of cocaine and ecstasy pills. The victims told detectives the suspects had displayed weapons and threatened them. The victims were turned over to the custody of ICE.

Suspects: Isidro Hernandez

Jorge Gonzales

Samuel Mongia

Reymundo Chavez

Lidia Vargas

Jose Vargas

All suspects were charged with Human Smuggling, Misconduct involving weapons, Kidnapping, and Possession of marijuana for sale.


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The Arizona Department of Public Safety is a state-level law enforcement agency whose mission is to protect human life and property by enforcing state laws, deterring criminal activity and providing vital support to the State of Arizona and its citizens.