The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office's Human Smuggling Unit nabbed seven illegal immigrants during a traffic stop last night -- which is precisely six more immigrants than were arrested during Sheriff Joe Arpaio's latest illegal immigrant roundup.
That's right, during Wednesday's highly publicized immigrant roundup at a hotel in downtown Phoenix, Arpaio's boys in beige busted precisely one suspected illegal immigrant. It's unclear how many deputies were used during the raid, but at least this time the sheriff didn't roll out his tank to arrest one dude.
MCSO Lieutenant Justin Griffin tells New Times the seven suspected illegal immigrants in last night's bust were arrested following a traffic stop by the MCSO's HSU. The seven suspects were stopped in a Kia van that was heading out of the Valley, Griffin says.
Griffin says he isn't sure what led to the traffic stop -- whether it was just routine, or if the van had been targeted by deputies. The fact that the HSU was involved suggests that deputies were looking for illegal immigrants on the roadways, possibly by looking for cars riding low to the ground, a common MCSO practice explained by Deputy Lindsey Smith during an episode of the MCSO's babe-cop reality TV show, Police Women of Maricopa County.
Whatever it was that led to the traffic stop, it apparently is more effective than raiding Valley businesses in search of housekeepers and short-order cooks, as evident from Wednesday's flop of an "Employer Sanctions Operation"/publicity stunt.
About the failed raid, Scottsdale Lieutenant Mike Stauffer, who is hoping to unseat Arpaio as the GOP nominee for sheriff, told New Times earlier this week that "the sheriff once again displayed his inept, attention-seeking, ineffective brand of what he thinks is law enforcement [during the raid]. He crowed that the investigation took only two months and yet he had no
idea that worker schedules had been changed and was able to arrest only one person. I am also not surprised that the employers were not sanctioned."
Arpaio, meanwhile, is planning another of his "crime suppression operations" for the northeast Valley for sometime "in the near future."
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.