Cops Find 11 Kids in Phoenix Drop House. Three Alleged "Coyotes" Arrested

Phoenix police have arrested three people -- and rescued 11 children -- after raiding a drop house last night.

Cops were tipped off about the house by a woman from El Salvador who reported to the FBI that her three daughters had been kidnapped and were being held in Phoenix.

Turns out, the woman paid "coyotes" to bring the children into the United States illegally. Once they were here, the smugglers tried to extort more money out of the family by holding the children hostage -- at one point, they even threatened to sexually assault the kids.

The house, near 7th and Southern Avenues in Phoenix, was raided by the FBI and the Phoenix Police Department's Special Assignments Unit about 6 p.m. yesterday.

Inside, they found 11 minors apparently smuggled into the country illegally and without their parents.

Police say the children are from various places including Mexico, Columbia and El Salvador.

Also in the house, they found a man standing guard. He told police he was also smuggled into the country by "coyotes" and was paying off his debt by guarding the house.

Two other suspects, a man and a woman, were seen leaving the house shortly before the raid. They were also taken into custody.

Police say they're working to have the children returned to their parents.

Check out an in-depth look at America's kidnapping capitol (a.k.a. Phoenix) in the New Times feature Seized.

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James King
Contact: James King