A human smuggling operation led authorities to a smuggler's vehicle and Mesa drop house, resulting in the arrests of 20 suspected illegal immigrants, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said.
Sheriff's deputies said they observed a vehicle in the North Valley, which they later determined was smuggling 14 illegal immigrants. Each had paid between $300 and $4,500 to be taken to New Mexico, North Carolina, Michigan, Alabama, Florida or Kentucky, MCSO said.
The investigation then led sheriff's detectives to a Mesa drop house where another six illegal immigrants were identified and taken into custody, including a 15-year-old boy.
In the smuggler's vehicle, deputies discovered two boys, ages 7 and 13, who were being smuggled into the country to be reunited with their mothers - one in Florida, the other in New York, sheriff's deputies said.
Sheriff's detectives booked 16 illegal immigrants into the Fourth Avenue Jail on state felony human smuggling charges and turned over three minors and one adult to ICE officials.
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Thursday, May 16 2013 2:06 PM EDT2013-05-16 18:06:52 GMT
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