Skip to comments.Authorities find dozens of illegal immigrants in suspected stash area
Posted on 07/19/2006 7:29:44 PM PDT by SandRat
About 75 illegal immigrants were found Tuesday in the desert about 50 miles west of Phoenix, many suffering from dehydration and exhaustion from triple-digit heat, authorities said.
Seven immigrants and three sheriff's deputies were taken to hospitals for treatment, said Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Officers used a helicopter, canine units and all-terrain vehicles and conducted foot patrols to search for others believed to be in the area, officials said.
"We know they're still out there because there's sounds in the brush," said Lt. Paul Chagolla, a sheriff's department spokesman. "We can hear them. They've hunkered down."
Lt. Chuck Siemens, who was in charge of the search operation, estimated late Tuesday that few than 20 people were still out in the desert.
The illegal immigrants told authorities that three people had died in the desert but authorities were still searching for bodies late Tuesday and couldn't confirm that, said Chagolla.
Arpaio, whose office made the discovery, said investigators suspect that the illegal immigrants were left in the location until smugglers could arrange transportation for them to be taken elsewhere.
"They are stashing them out there," Arpaio said.
Authorities gave water to the illegal immigrants, who were being turned over to federal immigration authorities, Arpaio said.
Siemens said some of the immigrants said they hadn't had water since Sunday and were desperate. "They were bombarding us for water. We passed out water bottles and it was a frenzy," he said.
Federal officials said groups of illegal immigrants have been found in that part of the county before.
Arpaio, whose office had previously brought more than 250 cases against illegal immigrants under a new Arizona smuggling law, said the immigrants found Tuesday won't be arrested.
They weren't caught in the act of being transported by a smuggler, a necessary element of proving the state crime, Arpaio said.
Other immigrants who might be found in the area will be charged under the state crime if they are caught being transported by a smuggler, Arpaio said.
"We are now zeroing in on the smugglers," Arpaio said.
Even though immigration had long been considered a federal responsibility, state lawmakers passed the law over frustration with Arizona's porous border with Mexico and the costs of health care and education for illegal immigrants and their families.
The law targets smugglers, and Maricopa County's top prosecutor has said that those who paid to be sneaked into the country also can be charged as conspirators.
Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, is Arizona's most populous county.
Sheriff Joe's Still got a VACANCY SIGN hung out at Tent City Jail House.
Their sense of entitlement tells them that the stupid American government will save them and actually wants to let them stay, at the expense of American taxpayers.
If this president would actually enforce the existing laws, most of them would stop coming.
We're sick of illegal aliens and the billions of dollars they cost us every single year.
Any amnesty-loving senator and rep should be booted out of office, and thank God this president's term is almost over.
They should be charged $2.00 a bottle of water after capture to partially pay for the inconvienience of having to remove their unwelcome carcasses.
"If your in the USA illegally and want to stay here take my advice and take the 5th! Refuse to talk to the police and refuse to answer any questions. Its your constitutional right to take the 5th Amendment and refuse to talk. If you refuse to tell the police your nationality they can't deport you. So do what any good lawyer will tell you to do - Take the 5th Amendment and refuse to talk to the police!"
Sheriff, federal agency at odds on caught immigrants
Undocumented immigrants being set free
The Arizona Republic
Jul. 20, 2006 12:00 AM
Maricopa County Jail inmates convicted or cleared of human-smuggling charges and presumed to be undocumented were allowed to walk out of jail without being removed from the country because of a spat over jurisdiction between the Sheriff's Office and federal immigration agents.
Since the first arrests made under Arizona's human-smuggling law in March, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office has filed 268 cases, 31 against suspected coyotes and the rest against suspected conspirators assumed to be undocumented immigrants.
So far, 63 have pleaded guilty to lesser offenses, 15 have been dismissed, two acquitted and one convicted by a jury.
But 17 have walked right out of the jail and into the community - including six who pleaded guilty to human-smuggling felonies - because the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency decided it wouldn't transport out of the country people prosecuted under the controversial coyote law.
Etc., etc., and so on. Protecting the slave traders Americans refuse to protect.
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