Kidnapping report from Paso Robles leads to bust of illegal immigrant smuggling operation in Arizona

An illegal immigrant smuggling operation in Arizona was busted after two Paso Robles women reported that their friends had been kidnapped.

The woman contacted Paso Robles police on Nov. 30 and said that two of their male friends had paid to be smuggled into the United States from Mexico. Approximately a week later, the women began receiving phone calls from unidentified people saying they were holding the men and would not release them until money was sent via wire transfer to an account in Mexico.

The women said they later talked to the victims on the phone, who confirmed that they were being held against their will by armed suspects somewhere in Arizona. The victims said the captors threatened to kill them if the money wasn't sent.

Paso Robles detectives were able to track down the probable location of the victims in the Tuscon area. The case was then turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

ICE agents served search warrants at two locations in Tucson on Dec. 1. During the searches, both victims were rescued unharmed. An additional 14 smuggled, undocumented immigrants were found, five suspects were arrested and three firearms were seized.

The United States Attorney’s office in Tucson is prosecuting the case.