4 men rescued from Phoenix drophouse; 3 were assaulted
May 4th 2012 · 0 Comments
Federal authorities say four Mexican citizens were rescued Wednesday from a violent Phoenix drophouse.
Three of the men told investigators they were beaten, sexually abused and assaulted with a stun gun, according to Amber Cargile, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman. One man had also been stabbed, she said.
The four were reportedly freed after ICE special agents, assigned to the Phoenix Border Enforcement Security Task Force and working with Phoenix police, learned that suspected human smugglers were operating out of the house near 83rd Avenue and Osborn Road.
“To the smugglers, these human beings are nothing more than a business commodity. They have no qualms about using ruthless violence in an effort to collect their smuggling fees,” said Matt Allen, a special agent in charge of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations in Arizona.
While monitoring the house, a vehicle that left the garage was stopped, Cargile said. Two suspected smugglers and two recently smuggled Mexican nationals were apprehended, and agents found $7,200 inside the car, she said.
Shortly afterwards, ICE said, three other men, believed to be smugglers, were taken into custody while leaving the house on bike and foot.
When authorities entered the house, four Mexican citizens were found in a bedroom. Two were bound with rope around their ankles and a third had been recently stabbed in his upper back. All three had other injuries consistent with being physically abused, ICE said. The fourth man rescued appeared physically unharmed.
Officials said the stabbing victim was treated at a local hospital and later released to authorities. The other three were treated as needed by paramedics at the scene.
All four are now in ICE custody and receiving victim services, Cargile said.
The five suspected smugglers, all Mexican citizens, were arrested by Phoenix police and face charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault, sexual assault, and extortion. They may also face future federal charges and were expected to make an initial court experience late Thursday.
ICE said the investigation is ongoing.
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