DPS: 13 illegal immigrants arrested in 2 stops
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Gary Grado, Tribune

March 12, 2009 - 3:01PM

The state Department of Public Safety arrested 13 suspected illegal immigrants Thursday in two separate traffic stops on East Valley highways during morning rush hour.

A passing car spun out in the median trying to avoid men fleeing the first traffic stop at 6:20 a.m. at Loop 202 and Kyrene Road in Chandler.

Officer Robert Bailey said there were several near misses when as many as 10 men scattered from a 1998 Ford Explorer that was stopped for various traffic infractions.

Police took seven men into custody. The men said they had spent four days in the desert and were picked up at 4 a.m. in Sonoyta, Mexico.

About 90 minutes after the first stop, a DPS officer stopped a 1999 Jeep Cherokee on U.S. 60 near Hardy Drive with six men inside, two of them hiding under covers in the cargo area.

The driver said he got $400 to pick up the five men and take them to Mesa. He picked them up in the desert outside Maricopa, Bailey said.

All of the men were turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.