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Human Smuggling/Trafficking
03/10/2008

ICE arrests more than 600 illegal aliens in Phoenix

Drop houses identified across the metropolitan area with help of local police

PHOENIX - More than 50 illegal aliens were discovered at a drop house in Avondale today, bringing the total number of aliens arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to more than 600 in the past seven days.

"While this is the time of year in which we normally see an increase in illegal alien traffic in Arizona, this past week has been exceptionally busy," said Katrina S. Kane, field office director of the ICE office of detention and removal operations in Arizona. "The cooperative efforts ICE has developed with local law enforcement agencies and the vigilance of those officers are making it much more difficult for human smugglers to avoid detection in the Phoenix area."

Nearly every day in the last week, large human smuggling loads were uncovered across the valley.

Today's drop house was discovered by the Avondale Police Department, resulting in the arrest of 55 illegal aliens.

Yesterday, the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office (YCSO) uncovered a drop house in Black Canyon City, turning 40 illegal aliens over to ICE for removal.

On Saturday, March 8, the Avondale Police Department found 82 illegal aliens in a drop house.

On Friday, March 7, a drop house in Phoenix was identified, and 43 illegal aliens were arrested at that location.

On Thursday, March 6, YCSO deputies found 34 illegal aliens in two traffic stops north of the valley. The Phoenix Police Department also discovered a drop house containing 38 illegal aliens.

On Wednesday, March 5, two drop houses were discovered in Glendale and Mesa, holding 59 and 24 illegal immigrants respectively.

"These arrests send a clear message to human smugglers that it is no longer business as usual in Phoenix," said Kane. "We have built a strong team to combat human smuggling in Arizona, and we are now seeing the results of these efforts."