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Arizona Woman Smuggled Illegal Immigrants Across Border For $15K Each

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Arizona Woman Arrested For Smuggling Hundreds Of Illegal Immigrants Across Border For $15K Each

Arizona Woman Arrested For Smuggling Hundreds Of Illegal Immigrants Across Border For $15K Each

An Arizona woman stands accused of smuggling hundreds of illegal immigrants into the US after they coughed up as much as $15,000 a pop to get across the border, authorities said Sunday.

Tania Estudillo Hernandez, 24, allegedly smuggled between 80 and 100 migrants a month into the country for six months before she was arrested Friday.

Hernandez was busted during a traffic stop while transporting a Guatemalan national, according to El Mirage, Ariz., police. Authorities were tipped off to the scheme when they received a report of a person being held for ransom at a house in the city.

The caller said there were “multiple people kidnapped including [the caller’s] husband,” police said. Authorities arrived to the home to find Hernandez fleeing in a vehicle and pulled her over.

During the traffic stop, two smugglers allegedly fled Hernandez’s home with 10 undocumented immigrants, police said. A subsequent search of the home recovered a semi-automatic rifle, two handguns, ammunition, ledgers that indicated human smuggling and other evidence, officials said.

One of the handguns was reportedly stolen. The ledgers indicated that Hernandez managed and directed the operation, police said.

She was charged with kidnapping, money laundering, illegally conducing participation in an illegal enterprise and conspiracy, and is being held in Maricopa County Jail.

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