Did Arpaio Ignore Tips About Danny's Car Wash, No. 1 MCSO Memorial-Fund Supporter?

Rumors have floated for years that Sheriff Arpaio's office ignored suspicious employment activity at Danny's Family Car Wash while targeting other companies for alleged immigration violations.

One fact fueling the gossip is that the Valley chain, founded by Danny Hendon, is the biggest supporter of the MCSO Memorial Fund, which benefits the families of fallen deputies.

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See also: - Joe Arpaio-Fave Danny's Family Car Wash Raided by ICE (w/Updates)

On Saturday, 13 locations of the car wash and three of an affiliated company, HR Betty, were raided -- not by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, but by federal immigration authorities.

Supervisors at the businesses were among the 14 people arrested, making this raid different than the immigrant roundups Sheriff Arpaio usually conducts under the guise of enforcing Arizona's employer sanctions law.

Amber Cargile, spokeswoman for the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told the news media that a two-year investigation had preceded the raids.

Little information was given prior to Monday's expected court hearings in the case.

But we can tell you that back in March of 2010, a Phoenix New Times commenter invited the feds to look at Danny's Car Wash.

"Former Republican" wrote:

Wonder how Hendershott's friend Danny Hendon is doing these days - with all the creditor lawsuits, etc. Must be okay, because the infamous DENNIS WILINCHIK is representing him on several matters. Just a coincidence I suppose. Wilenchik said in a deposition to the courts that he wasn't a friend of Arpaio and Thomas. My....must be just pure chance that he represents one of Arpaio's biggest butt buddies.Kind of like the coincidence that the county TAX DOLLARS are going to pay for services like auto spas, car washes, LUX AIR SERVICES...all owned by the Danny's Car Wash kingpins turned DEBTORS THAT ARE BEING SUED BY LOTS'O'FOLKS. Doesn't stop them from showing the Sheriff a little love now, does it?Boy, when the Sheriff and County Attorney owe a favor they pay up big time. Danny's Car Wash hasn't been raided yet....and yet we've heard numerous reports that it should have been.Federal Authorities......please examine THIS scenario.

A year later, in August 2011, the same commenter had this to say:

Arpaio racially profiles those who a) haven't donated heavily enough to his campaign and b) those who aren't in his Executive Posse.Case in Point: Danny's Car Wash. Arpaio's good buddy and Posse member has NEVER been raided. But plenty of local family owned car washes it because you've been treated like royalty by the Danny's other restaurant/bar ventures? Is it because your buddy donated pretty heavily to your campaign? What's different about Danny's employees than the car wash down the street? Don't want a media spotlight on your friend? You betcha. Otherwise, the deed would have already been done.

We don't know what kind of evidence the feds have against Danny's, making it tough to speculate and how much the MCSO should have known about the popular company. But who knows -- MCSO's non-involvement could be part of the developing story here.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.