Eleven undocumented immigrants were arrested Monday following an investigation by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
As deputies approached a pickup truck in the Southeast Valley, one of the passengers fled on foot through a nearby strip mall.
Deputies came up empty-handed following a search of the area.
The driver of the vehicle was arrested and investigators found ten undocumented immigrants covered with a tarp in the bed of the vehicle.
Detectives said they learned that the occupants in the vehicle were involved in human smuggling. All eleven occupants of the vehicle admitted to paying between $2,500 and $4,000 to be illegally smuggled into the U.S. Their destinations were Florida, New York, North Carolina, Atlanta, California, Kentucky and Phoenix.
Two members of the group admitted to being from Guatemala, and the rest of the group said they were from Mexico, according to sheriff's investigators. All crossed illegally into the U.S. through Altar, MCSO said.
The main smuggler in this case has an extensive criminal history and has been deported four times.
Nine of the suspects were booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail on state human smuggling charges. The two remaining suspects were turned over to ICE.
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