HomeNewsBriefArizona Sheriff Employees Arrested, Linked to Sinaloa Cartel
BRIEF

Arizona Sheriff Employees Arrested, Linked to Sinaloa Cartel

HUMAN SMUGGLING / 25 MAY 2011 BY JEN SOKATCH EN

Three employees of an Arizona sheriff have been arrested on charges of working with Mexican drug traffickers, and one said she was pregnant by an alleged member of the Sinaloa Cartel.

The charges against them, and 13 others arrested in the same operation on Tuesday, include aiding a criminal syndicate, human smuggling, drug trafficking and money laundering, reported Reuters. The detainees are accused of being part of a Phoenix-based drug smuggling ring, according to the Associated Press.

The three worked for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. They have been named as Deputy Sheriff Alfredo Navarette and country jail employees Sylvia Najera and Mercella Hernandez. The latter says she is eight months pregnant by Lorenzo Arce-Torres, an alleged lieutenant from Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel.

Navarette has already admitted to giving information regarding law enforcement operations to the smuggling ring. All three will face felony charges, according to reports. This comes as a blow to Sheriff Arpaio, who has long been considered Arizona’s toughest sheriff, who had promised to crackdown on illegal immigration and drug cartel activities in Arizona.

"No one is above the law, and apparently no one is beyond the reach of drug trafficking organizations in Mexico," said Maricopa County Attorney, Bill Montgomery.

This is another example of how the corruption that accompanies organized crime continues to affect both sides of the border, with reports that the Sinaloa Cartel now operates in 75 U.S. cities.

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