Following a complaint that someone was being kidnapped for ransom, police say a woman was detained in El Mirage on Friday for alleged money laundering and human smuggling.
Police said that after seeing a car depart the house, they stopped it.
Multiple people were allegedly being held against their will in a home near El Mirage and Thunderbird roads, according to information provided to authorities.
Police said that the 24-year-old driver, Tania Estudillo Hernandez, was driving a Guatemalan citizen.
According to the police, two people traffickers left the house with 10 undocumented immigrants during the traffic stop.
Hernandez was detained in connection with an inquiry into money laundering and running an illicit business.
Police said that over the past six months, 80 to 100 unauthorised immigrants were housed or processed in the home on a monthly basis and were charged up to $15,000 in smuggling expenses.
A search warrant was executed at the residence with the help of the Glendale Police Department’s SWAT squad, detectives from the El Mirage Police Department, and officers from the Neighborhood Enforcement Team.
Two handguns, ammo, ledgers recording human smuggling, and other evidence of human smuggling, according to the police, were recovered. In Phoenix, one of the handguns was reported stolen. On charges of kidnapping, money laundering, running or participating in an illegal operation, and conspiracy, Hernandez was lodged in the Maricopa County jail.
The inquiry is still ongoing by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security.
- Woman detained on suspicion of human smuggling and money laundering
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