Posted: Apr 15, 2010 3:17 PM
Federal agents targeted about 50 shuttle van operators and smugglers who are accused of using the vans to transport thousands of illegal immigrants from spots near the Mexican border to Phoenix.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement billed the bust as the largest human smuggling case in the agency's seven-year history. Investigators say the operators of four shuttle services in Tucson and a fifth in Phoenix created their businesses solely to help immigrant smugglers move their customers to Phoenix under a
veil of legitimacy.
The shuttle operators are accused of producing fraudulent receipts for illegal immigrants and coaching them on what to say if the vans were pulled over by police. The number of arrests hasn't yet been released.