On March 16, 2010, at about 5:13 a.m., a DPS officer attempted to make a traffic stop on a silver Ford F150 extended cab pickup traveling westbound on I-10 at Baseline Road in the east valley for following another vehicle too closely. The driver of the truck drove off as the officer approached it.
DPS was in pursuit of the vehicle until it got off the freeway at 32nd Street. Minutes later, another DPS officer located the same truck and attempted to pull it over on I-10 and 67th Avenue. The driver led DPS Officers on a pursuit west on I-10 to northbound State Route Loop 101 where the truck exited at Thomas Road.
The truck finally came to a stop in a Tolleson neighborhood at 104th Avenue and Miami. Nine undocumented aliens were found in the bed of the truck underneath some plywood. Three other undocumented aliens were in the extended cab portion of the truck. The driver and passenger in the front, both undocumented immigrants, were arrested on felony flight and human smuggling charges. The passenger is the registered owner of the vehicle.
The investigation lead IIMPACT detectives to a drop house at 9914 West Wier in Phoenix. A search warrant was served at the residence. A total of 58 undocumented immigrants were inside including juveniles ranging in age from 10 to 17.
Investigators have identified two male suspected human smugglers among the 58. Most of the undocumented aliens are from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. They paid $6,000 each to be smuggled into the U.S. So far no evidence of violence or extortion has been found. Detectives believe the residence has been used as a drop house for a few weeks although most of the undocumented immigrants found have been in the house for just one day.