Arizona authorities said Monday that they rescued three illegal immigrants from smugglers who tied them up so tightly that shoe laces rubbed through their flesh.
Arizona Department of Public Safety Capt. Fred Zumbo said a family member of one of the male immigrants called Phoenix police Saturday and said smugglers were asking for $6,000 for his safe return.
DPS’ Illegal Immigration Apprehension Co-op Team took over, and Zumbo said calls to the family got increasingly aggressive, and that the man was beaten as the family listened to his cries over the phone. Smugglers then threatened to kill the man by 11 a.m. Monday if they didn’t get their money, Zumbo said.
Task force detectives pounced at 1 a.m. Monday, and found the victim and two other illegal immigrants tied up and being held against their will.
The Mexican victim whose family had contacted police also had been beaten; none of the immigrants required hospitalization and all were turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Detectives arrested four smugglers identified as Julio Cesar Rubio-Contreras, 27; Alexis Medina-Cruz, 18; Yenni Cruz-Ibarra, 30; and Reyna Valdez-Galaviz, 26.
All were booked on charges of kidnapping, human smuggling, extortion and participating in a criminal enterprise. Medina-Cruz also was charged with assault with a weapon.
It was unclear whether the alleged smugglers had attorneys.