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September 29, 09

NEWS / IIMPACT Investigators locate and dismantle two drop houses in Phoenix and Glendale


Total of eight coyotes arrested and 17 victims rescued in IIMPACT operations

Investigators assigned to the Illegal Immigration Apprehension Co-op Team (IIMPACT) successfully located and dismantled two fortified drop houses within eight days, one in Glendale and another in west Phoenix. At both drop houses, illegal immigrant victims were being tortured and held against their will for ransom. A total 17 victims were rescued and eight human smugglers (coyotes) were arrested and charged with numerous felonies including human smuggling, armed robbery, weapons misconduct, kidnapping, and aggravated assault.

IIMPACT Detectives were called to the west Phoenix drop house on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009, when the Phoenix Police Department notified the team about a possible drop house where two armed guards (coyotes) were holding several illegal immigrants for ransom. A man had escaped the drop house and notified Phoenix Police of the drop house and led officers to the residence at 9030 W. Cambridge, Phoenix. The Phoenix Police Department’s SWAT Team was called in and made entry into the house, rescuing eight victims and arresting two suspected coyotes. The two suspects were booked into the Maricopa County 4th avenue jail on charges of kidnapping, weapons misconduct, human smuggling, and armed robbery.

The victims told investigators they had been smuggled into the country five days ago and were being held for a $3,000 ransom fee. Additionally, the victims were beaten with a mop handle, made to undress while the armed guards photographed them with their own cell phones threatening to send the photos to their families. Victims also reported to investigators that when they spoke to their families the guards would hold a shotgun to their heads. Investigators served a search warrant on the house and seized a loaded shotgun, BB handgun, human smuggling ledgers and cell phones. The house was fortified with plywood covering the windows.

The first drop houseinvestigated by IIMPACT during this time period occurred on Friday, Sept. 18, 2009, when the Phoenix Police Department received information via Silent Witness on a possible drop house where illegal immigrant victims were reportedly being held against their will. The information was then sent to IIMPACT. A victim who was smuggled into the country earlier in the week was taken to a drop house in Glendale where he was held against his will. Once there the smugglers acted as guards threatening the illegal immigrant victims with a handgun.

The victim in this case was able to escape and he subsequently contacted police and led IIMPACT investigators to the residence at 5952 W. Maryland, Glendale, Ariz. The Glendale Police Department SWAT Team served a search warrant at the residence rescuing eight victims and arresting six suspected coyotes. Investigators seized a handgun, several cell phones, and human smuggling ledgers. The six suspects were booked into the Maricopa County 4th avenue jail on charges of Kidnapping, weapons misconduct, human smuggling, and armed robbery.


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).

http://www.azdps.gov/Media/News/View/?p=113

 




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