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Old 04-17-2010, 12:37 PM
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Jeanfromfillmore Jeanfromfillmore is offline
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Default DPS Nabs Suspected Smuggler During Raid

DPS Nabs Suspected Smuggler During Raid
AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Arizona Department of Public Safety Officers and members of a task force raided an Avondale home Friday morning and arrested a person they believe is a major figure involved in human smuggling.
Officers served a search warrant on a home near 119th Avenue and Buckeye Road in Avondale.
DPS spokesman Bart Graves said DPS and the task force were looking for a man they believe is a significant suspect involved in smuggling illegal immigrants into the United States.
The search warrant follows several weeks of investigation, beginning with an initial drop house find.
DPS officers also pulled over a truckload of undocumented immigrants after a pursuit a few weeks ago.
The continued investigation led to another drop house last week and eventually to Friday's arrests.
DPS also served a search warrant at a home near 99th Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road Friday. Officers arrested six suspected illegal immigrants and six suspected smugglers.
Neighbor Sharon Lokken, said, "Nobody's permanent that goes into that house, they come and go."
It's that coming and going that got neighbors attention, again.
DPS Spokesman Rob Bailey said, "We hit that place a second time it's gonna raise a lot of red flags."
But this is the second time DPS has been to the home.
Bailey recalled, "Last year, August 10th our IMPACT investigators also served a search warrant on this residence."
Bailey said another agency also served a warrant on the home. That makes three busts at the same house. CBS 5 wanted to know why.
Bailey said, "With so many homes on the market, it makes the job of some of these human smuggling cartels even easier to find homes, because there's so many people desperate to rent their home to really almost anyone."
Bailey told CBS 5 that DPS can only do so much.
"It's not like we're checking the house every week to see what's going on at that home," he said.
But, Bailey said, the people who are choosing who lives there should be.
"Everybody is fair game. Landowners, property management -- everybody is fair game. (No one is going to) be left out of these investigations," he said.
A shame, Lokken said it's a shame that things like this keep happening in her nice, normally quiet neighborhood.
CBS 5 contacted the people who own the property. They said they didn't know what had happened until we filled them in. They told CBS 5 a local property management company chooses who gets to live there, and while they didn't want to give us the name, they said they're giving them a call first thing in the morning.
Graves said more arrests are possible.
DPS has not released the name of the smuggler.
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