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PHOENIX (CBS5) -
A 16-day crackdown on human smuggling resulted in 42 arrests, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said.
The most recent chase occurred Wednesday night when six suspected undocumented immigrants drove into the desert in an alleged attempt to get away from deputies. Two of them rode in the trunk of the vehicle. One of those suspects suffered a head laceration. Once the group was taken into custody, the injured suspect was taken to Maricopa Medical Center.
During one of the investigations on Wednesday, sheriff's deputies said they tried to approach a vehicle they had observed traveling at a high rate of speed. The vehicle drove off-road and plowed through a barb-wire fence into the desert, MCSO said.
The vehicle sustained damage, including flat tires, but continued to drive for about one mile before the eight occupants, including the driver, fled on foot into the thick brush. Deputies set up a perimeter and with the use of the sheriff's helicopter and K-9 units, they located one suspect hiding in a backyard of a home and all others hiding in a wash.
Another one of this week's incidents was triggered when deputies allegedly saw large bundles being loaded into a vehicle on the side of a busy roadway. Detectives approached the car and four men fled on foot. Two others sped away in the car but stopped soon after and ran into the desert.
After an hour of searching, detectives found and arrested four men. They also seized three large bales of marijuana that weighed more than 120 pounds, with a street value of $62,000.
MCSO said it connected the incidents to human smuggling. The suspects paid between $2,000 to $3,500 to be illegally smuggled into the U.S., MCSO said.
The destinations of the suspects included California, Missouri, Tennessee, New Jersey, Colorado, Phoenix, Texas and Idaho. All the suspects admitted to being Mexican Nationals, sheriff's investigators said.
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