AZ DPS
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PRESS RELEASES

Two human smugglers arrested and 48 illegal immigrants turned over to federal authorities in the past two days

Friday, April 02, 2010 -

On April 1st and 2nd, 2010, following three separate traffic stops and an encounter with a stranded vehicle, officers with the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) arrested two suspected human smugglers and turned 48 illegal immigrants over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). All of the incidents that led to the arrests and discovery of the illegal immigrants took place in the Phoenix area.

The first incident occurred on April 1, 2010, just before 6:00 a.m., when a DPS motorcycle officer on patrol came upon a disabled pick-up truck blocking the westbound off-ramp of 83rd avenue along Interstate 10.

The officer immediately discovered several people hiding under a large piece of plywood in the bed of the truck. A total of 13 suspected illegal immigrants were turned over to ICE as a result of the incident. Two men, who where outside of the truck, fled on foot and were not apprehended.

Later that same day, at about 11:25 a.m., a DPS officer stopped a Chevrolet Suburban traveling westbound on Interstate 10 in west Buckeye. The officer discovered that the driver of the vehicle had a suspended drivers license and, as a result, the officer began the process of conducting a 30-day impound on the vehicle. As he was taking inventory of the vehicle, he discovered a person’s foot underneath a blanket. This led him to the discovery of several other people in the vehicle . A total of four adult males and one female were turned over to ICE as a result of this incident. The female driver was identified as Brook Ashley Sieckman, 34, of Niland, Calif. She was booked into the 4th Avenue jail on human smuggling charges. IIMPACT investigators assisted in this investigation. The Chevrolet Suburban was seized.

Just after 5:30 a.m. the following day, April 2, a DPS officer stopped a Chevrolet pick-up truck traveling westbound on Interstate 10 approaching the U.S. 60 interchange. The driver of the truck failed to yield and finally pulled over off of the highway, where all of the vehicle’s occupants fled on foot.

The occupants in the bed of the truck had been hiding under a large piece of plywood. The driver and the other 13 occupants were apprehended in the parking lot of the Arizona Mills Mall with the assistance of additional DPS officers, Tempe Police, and security personnel from the mall. Three of the occupants were female, including a pregnant woman who hadn’t had food or water in four days. The pregnant female was transported to a local hospital for treatment. The driver, Rafael Velarde-Tirado, 22, of Mexico, an illegal immigrant, was booked into the Maricopa County Jail on felony flight and human smuggling charges. The remaining 12 individuals were turned over to ICE. The truck was seized.

Roughly one hour later that same day, at about 6:30 a.m., a DPS motorcycle officer attempted to stop a pick-up truck traveling westbound on I-10 at Ray Road when the driver exited at Ray Road, moved to turn right, then suddenly made a U-turn traveling east on the west bound shoulder. The truck came to a stop near Chandler Blvd., and four occupants from the front seat fled on foot and were soon captured at a Denny’s restaurant with the assistance of additional DPS officers and Chandler Police. The remaining occupants, four in the back seat and nine under large piece of plywood, did not attempt to flee. Of the 17 in total, three were female and two were juvenile. All 17 were turned over to ICE. The truck was seized.