PHOENIX - Thursday proved to be a busy day for Maricopa County Sheriff's Human Smuggling officials, as they arrested 17 illegal immigrants in two separate cases.
According to a news release, the first case involved a vehicle driving out of north Maricopa County with 12 people inside.
Of the 12 occupants were a male and female coyote driver, officials say.
After an investigation, officials learned that each occupant had paid between $1,200 and $6,000 to be smuggled into the country.
Nine of the individuals were from Mexico, two were from El Salvador and one was from Guatemala.
The occupants were reportedly on their way to Oklahoma, Tennessee, Maryland and Georgia from a Nogales border crossing point.
In a second case, deputies found five males huddled under a tree while they were working on a drug interdiction case, according to the news release.
The men are said to have quickly fled the area, but gave up quickly.
Human smuggling detectives discovered that each of the men had paid $2,000 to be smuggled into the country by a coyote.
The Mexican nationals are said to have crossed into the country near Sonoita.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio fears that more illegal immigrants and drugs will enter the country under President Barack Obama's "weak immigration stance," according to MCSO.
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