12/20/2012 09:43 am ET

Human Smuggling Drops In Arizona, New Statistics Indicate

PHOENIX - The number of so-called drophouses discovered harboring undocumented immigrants in the Phoenix area has decreased significantly over the last four years, a trend federal officials said is another indication that human smuggling in Arizona is declining.

There were 490 undocumented immigrants discovered in 37 Phoenix area drophouses during the federal fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. The Arizona Republic said that compares with 3,221 undocumented immigrants found in 186 drophouses in the 2008 federal budget year that ended in September 2008.

The special agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigations in Arizona, Matthew Allen, tied the decrease to an overall drop in illegal immigration nationwide. He cited the weak U.S. economy, tighter border security, stepped-up immigration enforcement and tougher sentences imposed on smugglers.

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