IIMPACT busts Mesa drop house following week-long investigation
Investigation stemmed from traffic stop by DPS Highway Patrol Officer
Friday, May 14, 2010 -
On May 14, 2010, just after 11:00 a.m., investigators with the Illegal Immigration Prevention Co-Op Team (IIMPACT), with the assistance of the Mesa Police Department, conducted a “knock and talk” of a residence believed by investigators to be a working drop house at 623 S. Center St., in Mesa, Ariz. IIMPACT investigators were initially led to the residence by information gained from a traffic stop conducted by a DPS Highway Patrol Officer about one week ago of a vehicle which turned out to be transporting illegal immigrants. Immediately upon approaching the house, the suspected human smugglers or “coyotes” began fleeing from a back bedroom window and were quickly apprehended. A total of six coyotes were arrested. Once inside the house, investigators located eight men and one woman. All nine people are believed to be undocumented immigrants who were illegally smuggled into the country within the past few days and arriving at this residence within the past 24 hours. All nine were destined for various locations within the Midwest. Each immigrant paid about $2,500 dollars to be smuggled into the country from Mexico. Following interviews at our IIMPACT facility, the nine immigrants will be turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel. The six male suspects will be booked into the 4th Avenue Jail on charges of Human Smuggling. It is not believed that the nine immigrants were being held against their will in this particular case.
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).