Two Charged After 53 Illegal Immigrants Found in Phoenix Drop House

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents found 53 people in a Phoenix drop house on Friday, and two Mexican nationals now face human smuggling charges. 

Edgar Meza-Bustamante, 23, and Cruz Gerardo Meza-Tirado, 34, both Mexican citizens in the country illegally, were arrested at 11226 West Roma Avenue in Phoenix, a home they'd allegedly been using as a drop house for illegal immigrants.

Agents from the Department of Homeland Security got a tip from the Arizona Department of Safety, which led them to the house.

When agents knocked on the front door of the home, ICE officials say several illegal immigrants tried to escape through the back of the house. Agents entered the house, and found 53 illegal immigrants, as well as the two suspects.

The immigrants, ICE officials say, are from Mexico, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.

The majority of the immigrants found during the raid were adult males, but ICE officials say seven were women and six were juvenile males.

"While Arizona is the busiest human smuggling corridor in the United States, it is unusual to find so many aliens in the same drop house," Matt Allen, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Arizona, says in a statement. "This is a good reminder to human smugglers that they are not welcome in our communities. We are out there looking for them, and when we find them they will be arrested and prosecuted."

The suspects made their first court appearance yesterday and will likely be hit with several human smuggling charges.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
James King
Contact: James King