(Reuters) - Thirty-four people said to be illegal immigrants were in custody on Wednesday after federal agents raided a “drop house” in Phoenix suspected of being a part of a human smuggling operation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials said.
The raid late on Tuesday was precipitated by a tip that a “local residence contained a large group of suspected undocumented aliens,” Lauren Mack, a spokeswoman for ICE, said in a statement.
The information led agents with ICE Homeland Security Investigations to “dismantle a human smuggling drop house,” she said.
“Federal agents discovered 34 undocumented aliens inside the residence. The group included 27 Guatemalan nationals, 5 Mexican nationals and 2 Honduran nationals,” Mack said.
All 34 were detained for violations associated with the failed human smuggling operation and processed for removal. “The investigation into the smuggling activity is ongoing,” Mack said.
U.S. President Donald Trump has ordered stricter immigration enforcement.
Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Leslie Adler