Nearly 50 people charged with working for smuggling ring - East Valley Tribune: Immigration

Nearly 50 people charged with working for smuggling ring

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Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2008 9:28 pm | Updated: 9:59 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

PHOENIX - Forty-eight people accused of taking part in an immigrant smuggling ring were indicted on criminal charges, Arizona authorities announced Thursday.

Authorities say the group, whose top leaders were among those who face charges, grossed as much as $130,000 a week moving people from Naco, Mexico, to Phoenix.

The case led to the discovery of 13 "drop houses" in Phoenix where human smugglers held customers until they paid up.

Phoenix police Lt. Vince Piano says the ring is believed to be one of the biggest operating in Arizona, the business illegal entry point into the country.

Authorities say other smuggling groups are believed to be operating in the state.

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