A traffic stop by Yavapai County sheriff's deputies interrupted a human smuggling attempt Thursday afternoon, law enforcement officials said.
A vehicle was pulled over for an equipment violation on Interstate 17 northbound near Cordes Junction.
A deputy spotted 15 people trying to hide inside the van. As the deputy called for more units, the driver and four of the occupants fled.
While inspecting the vehicle, deputies said they noticed it had a modified suspension designed to handle a large amount of weight. The rear suspension included large air chocks with a bumper-mounted filler valve along with read non-stock heavy duty pickup truck tires.
Deputies contacted Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and the remaining 10 passengers were interviewed by an ICE agent over the phone in Spanish to check legal residency status.
ICE officials determined everyone in the group was undocumented and requested they be transported to the Camp Verde Detention Center pending an immigration detainer notice.
A YCSO detention van was used for transportation to the jail and ICE agents arrived later that evening to take custody of the group pending deportation hearings.
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