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 user 2010-05-17 at 1:57:39 pm Views: 57
  • #24029

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    24 arrested in MCSO raid on Phoenix

    PHOENIX — Maricopa County
    sheriff’s deputies raided a Phoenix business Thursday morning in the
    culmination of a six-month investigation that started with a tip to the
    MCSO immigration hotline.Deputies converged on the area of 48th Avenue
    and Van Buren Street shortly after 8 a.m.According to the Maricopa
    County Sheriff’s Office, investigators had information that 35 people
    working at Lasermasters, a company that supplies printer cartridges, are
    allegedly undocumented immigrants who used fake documents to get their
    jobs.MCSO said its deputies, armed with search warrants, went to the
    Lasermasters location to look for employee files and records on those 35
    people. By the end of operation, 24 Lasermasters employees had been
    arrested, all suspected of being in the country illegally and engaging
    in identity theft.

    MCSO Det. Aaron Douglas said the raid was part
    of a potential employer-sanctions case. Sheriff Joe Arpaio said this
    operation — the 32nd of its kind — had nothing to do with SB 1070,
    Arizona’s new anti-illegal-immigration law, although he does believe the
    law will be beneficial as his office works these kinds of cases in the
    future.One employee who was at Lasermasters when the raid went down
    spoke to 3TV’s Javier Soto, saying deputies busted into the building,
    yelling “Where are the rats hiding?”

    Arpaio said his deputies did
    their jobs properly, executing the operation “very professionally.”"We
    went in very, very professionally. We did not draw our guns even though
    10 people were escaping, trying to escape. We still did not draw our
    guns,” Arpaio said. “We know what we did, and the people inside know
    what we did.”The bottom line is we came in here, enforcing the laws,
    executing search warrants, and you’re always going to have some critics
    make up stories,” he continued.

    The employee who talked to Soto
    said he is an Hispanic American who has blond hair and blue eyes. The
    man said at no point did the deputies try to question him about his
    immigration status.One woman who arrived on the scene became very
    emotional when her significant other was loaded on to the waiting
    sheriff’s van. She actually had to be restrained as she tried to get to
    him.According to MCSO, the previous operations like this morning’s raid
    have resulted in 362 undocumented immigrants being arrested. Of those,
    231 were suspected of identity theft, which is a class 4 felony.