News From the Border

Providing the news from a different front but from a war that we must win as well! I recognize the poverty and desperate conditions that many Latinos live in. We, as the USA, have a responsibility to do as much as we can to reach out to aid and assist spiritually with the Gospel and naturally with training, technology and resources. But poverty gives no one the right to break the laws of another sovereign nation.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Migrant-extortion plot earns coyote 31 years

by Michael Kiefer - Apr. 18, 2008 12:00 AM

The Arizona Republic

A man who ran a west Phoenix drophouse that extorted money from undocumented immigrants and held them hostage has been sentenced to 31 years in prison in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Arturo Nevarez Ugarte was one of two "coyotes" who went on trial on charges related to the September 2007 bust of a drophouse near 94th Avenue and McDowell Road.

He was arrested after several of his victims broke free from a locked closet, beat him unconscious with a curtain rod and escaped into the neighborhood to call police. Nevarez Ugarte, 34, was convicted in March on two counts each of kidnapping, extortion and armed robbery; he was sentenced April 11.

A second defendant, Sergio Guerrero Teran went to trial in April, but it ended in a mistrial because of juror misconduct. A new trial is scheduled for August.

According to Phoenix police Detective Alfredo Richard, drophouses are usually rented properties, and the smuggling operations are run so quietly that the neighbors are not aware of any unusual activity. The house in Nevarez Ugarte's case was in a rented single-family home in a residential area.

"This kind of incident affects an entire neighborhood," Richard said. "A drophouse isn't in a vacuum. The neighbors are affected when all these people come running out. The violence associated with it - handguns, shots fired - it's a strain on everyone."

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