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Human Smuggling/Trafficking

ICE arrests 2, detains 53 at Phoenix drop house

 ICE arrests 2, detains 53 at Phoenix drop house
ICE arrests 2, detains 53 at Phoenix drop house

PHOENIX - Two Mexican citizens appeared in federal court to face human smuggling charges Monday following the discovery of a Phoenix drop house by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations Friday where agents detained 53 illegal aliens.

Edgar Meza-Bustamante, 23, and Cruz Gerardo Meza-Tirado, 34, both citizens of Mexico illegally present in the United States, were arrested at the drop house located at 11226 West Roma Avenue in Phoenix. HSI agents, following a tip from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, identified the possible drop house and knocked on the front door. They then gained entry after several illegal aliens attempted to flee through the back of the residence.

In addition to the two suspects, agents discovered 53 illegal aliens from Mexico, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. While the majority of the aliens are adult males, the detained aliens also included seven females and six juvenile males.

"While Arizona is the busiest human smuggling corridor in the United States, it is unusual to find so many aliens in the same drop house," said Matt Allen, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Arizona. "This is a good reminder to human smugglers that they are not welcome in our communities. We are out there looking for them, and when we find them they will be arrested and prosecuted."

The two suspects made their initial appearance in federal court Monday on human smuggling charges.

A criminal complaint is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.