'Major' human smuggling cell busted in Arizona

AMANDA LEE MYERS - Associated Press
November 10, 2010

Arizona authorities say they've dismantled a major cell of a human smuggling ring that may be responsible for the transportation of thousands of illegal immigrants from Mexico to Phoenix and other parts of the country.

Nine people are accused of picking up illegal immigrants after they crossed the border by foot, and taking them to what are known as drop houses in Phoenix before they were distributed to other parts of the country.

The group also has been connected to a June 2009 vehicle rollover near the Arizona town of Sonoita that killed 11 illegal immigrants.

Arizona Department of Public Safety Capt. Fred Zumbo says the group displayed a "total disregard" for human life and that law enforcement has put a "huge dent in the human smuggling arena."