24-year-old Tania Estudillo Hernandez was arrested by the El Mirage, Arizona, police department after being accused of human smuggling.
On September 24, officers had gotten a report of someone being held for ransom, at a residence, close to the intersection of El Mirage Road and Thunderbird Road, on the evening of September 23.
“The complaint stated that in the residence there were multiple people being held against their will including her husband,” a statement read.
Authorities say that when officers got to the location, they observed a vehicle leaving the home.
“The vehicle was stopped and a suspected human smuggler… was arrested while transporting a Guatemalan national,” it continued.
Detectives say that they found that 80 to 100 undocumented immigrants were kept and/or processed in the residence, every month, for at least six months. They had paid up to $15,000 in smuggling expenses.
The officers also determined that as they were performing the traffic stop, two smugglers had exited the home with 10 undocumented immigrants.
As a search warrant was conducted on the home, a semi-automatic rifle, two handguns, one which was stolen, and ammunition were located. Detectives also found ledgers noting human smuggling and proof that Hernandez was in charge of the operation.
Hernandez was placed in the Maricopa County Jail for kidnapping, money laundering, illegally conducting or participating in an illegal enterprise, and conspiracy.
An investigation is on-going.