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1/17/2013 2:43:00 PM
Deputy stops human-smuggling van on I-17

CAMP VERDE -- A Yavapai County Sheriff's deputy stopped a maroon passenger van about 4 a.m. Tuesday morning for speeding northbound on Interstate 17, north of Highway 169. The van had been traveling 89 mph in a 65 mph zone.

The driver could only provide a Mexico ID card. Inside the van were eight passengers, three females and five males; three were juveniles.

The officer determined the passengers were undocumented aliens, headed for Santa Fe, N.M. The deputy contacted Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and received authorization to detain and transport the group to the Camp Verde Detention Center pending release to ICE personnel.

While deputies were clearing the van prior to tow away, they found another man hiding under a large floor mat. All 10 were transported to the Detention Center. The van, registered to a Phoenix address, was impounded.

The driver admitted transporting his nine passengers as part of a human smuggling arrangement. In this case, he met with a contact at a gas station in Phoenix and was given a set of keys to a van containing nine undocumented aliens.

He was instructed to drive to Santa Fe, drop off the passengers and return to Phoenix where he would be paid for his services. Specific information on this arrangement was provided to ICE personnel for follow-up.



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