20 charged with running immigrant ring
Feb 15,2008 00:00 by UPI

PHOENIX - Twenty people suspected of controlling the smuggling of illegal immigrants from Naco on the Mexican border to Phoenix were arrested Thursday.

Federal, state and local agents also picked up more than 200 suspected illegal immigrants and located 13 drop houses used as stopping points for immigrants, The New York Times reported. Two Cuban men were alleged to be the kingpins.

Roger Vanderpool, head of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, said rounding up illegal immigrants would not solve the problem.

"It's organized crime," Vanderpool said. "Going after the head of the snake, cutting it off, is the effective way of dealing with organized crime."

Investigators said the group worked with a smuggling group on the Mexican side of the border. They allegedly picked up incoming immigrants in Naco and drove them to Phoenix, often carrying several carloads a day in rental vehicles.

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