Smuggling Syndicate Crushed in "Operation En Fuego," AG's Office Says

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard will reveal details tomorrow of the break-up of a large smuggling syndicate thanks to the work of several law enforcement agencies (but not the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office).

While Sheriff Joe Arpaio was rousting corn vendors and trying to one-up Mesa Police Chief George Gascon, Phoenix police, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Bureau were working more quietly on busting the high-level smugglers. Now it's these agencies and state prosecutor Goddard's office that appear to be doing the most on the immigration front.

Of course, we must reserve some comment until the whole story is revealed at tomorrow's noon press conference. But initial details from the AG's office state the syndicate brought in about $63,000 a week by smuggling drugs and immigrants.

Yeah, that seems fairly major.

While we can feel less sorry for smuggling kingpins than hard-working (albeit undocumented) immigrants, this latest bust shows once again how much local law enforcement is doing about the problems relating to illegal immigration, as detailed in a recent New Times feature article.

We're fairly certain that attacking the head of the problem (DPS, Phoenix police, ICE) is a lot better than attacking the feet (MCSO).

When cops take career criminals and smugglers off the street -- instead of families and those guilty of nothing but working here illegally -- few doubt the good they're doing. -- Ray Stern

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.
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.
Contact: Ray Stern