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Number of migrant drop houses in Phoenix way down

In this April 29,2010 file photo showing a drop house that was raided by the Arizona Department of Public Safety along with other law enforcement, yielding nine suspected illegal immigrants, three shown here, and three suspected human smugglers in Phoenix. Federal officials say the number of so-called "drophouses" discovered harboring illegal immigrants in the Phoenix area has decreased significantly over the last four years. They say the decrease is another indication that overall human smuggling activity in Arizona is declining. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin,File)

In this April 29,2010 file photo showing a drop house that was raided by the Arizona Department of Public Safety along with other law enforcement, yielding nine suspected illegal immigrants, three shown here, and three suspected human smugglers in Phoenix. Federal officials say the number of so-called "drophouses" discovered harboring illegal immigrants in the Phoenix area has decreased significantly over the last four years. They say the decrease is another indication that overall human smuggling activity in Arizona is declining. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin,File)

Federal officials say the number of so-called “drophouses” discovered harboring illegal immigrants in the Phoenix area has decreased significantly over the last four years.

They say the decrease is another indication that overall human smuggling activity in Arizona is declining.

The Arizona Republic reports  just 490 illegal immigrants were discovered in 37 Phoenix area drophouses in the Phoenix area in the federal fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. That compares with 3,221 illegal immigrants found in 186 drophouses in the 2008 federal budget year that ended in September 2008.

Officials say the decrease in smuggling activity in Arizona is tied to an overall drop in illegal immigration because of the weak U.S. economy, tighter border security, stepped-up immigration enforcement, and tougher sentences imposed on smugglers.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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