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IIMPACT Detectives arrest 7 rescue 38 victims being held against their will at Phoenix residence

Thursday, March 25, 2010 -

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On Wednesday, March 24, 2010, Detectives from the Illegal Immigration Prevention and Apprehension Co-op Team (IIMPACT) conducted an investigation in the Phoenix area which led to the arrest of seven suspects and the rescue of 38 victims being held against their will.

Around 3:30 p.m., Phoenix Police Department received a 9-1-1 call from an individual who stated he and several other people were being held against their will inside of a house. Based on the information provided by the caller, Phoenix Police Department was able to determine the address of the single-family home located at 1822 South 86th Lane in Phoenix.

Phoenix PD uniformed officers conducted a check welfare of the residence based on the 9-1-1 call. The officers knocked on the door, announced themselves and subjects began to flee out of the back door into the yard but were immediately captured and detained by the officers. Based on the actions of the fleeing subjects, the officers entered the home and found a total of 45 people inside the residence.

Seven of the individuals were identified as the suspects directly involved in the criminal human smuggling operation. The remaining 38 individuals were identified as victims being held against their will and they were also determined to be undocumented aliens. The residence is a three-bedroom, single story, detached home. Windows in two of the bedrooms in the home were fortified to prevent the victims from escaping.

Phoenix PD requested the assistance of IIMPACT. IIMPACT Detectives arrived on scene and began a criminal investigation and conducted some preliminary interviews of the victims which revealed they were brought to the residence in groups in the last two to three days. A search warrant was obtained on the residence and the detectives are in the process of executing the warrant.

The 38 victims are believed to all be residents of Mexico. They arrived in different groups and at different times so it is unknown at this time exactly when each of them would have crossed illegally into the United States. All are believed to have traveled some extensive distance by foot before being picked up and transported by vehicles to the Phoenix Metropolitan area. The overall health of the victims was fair. Interviews of the victims will continue to determine if any had been threatened or physically assaulted. All of the victims will be turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for disposition.

The seven suspects (names not available at the time of this news release) will be interviewed and then booked into the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Fourth Avenue Jail. They will be initially charged with Human Smuggling and Operating a Criminal Conspiracy.

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IIMPACT (Illegal Immigration Prevention & Apprehension Co-op Team) is a multi-agency project managed by GIITEM of the Arizona Department of Public Safety that is designed to“deter, disrupt and dismantle violent criminal organizations profiting from human smuggling.” In most IIMPACT cases, crimes of kidnapping, extortion, assault and human smuggling are prevalent. IIMPACT is comprised of investigators from the Phoenix Police Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS).

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.