Maricopa County Sheriff's deputies said they have arrested the kingpin of a human smuggling cartel.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office said 35-year-old Javier Rito-Martinez was among 10 people arrested Wednesday afternoon at a rented house in Laveen.
Rito-Martinez, the alleged kingpin, has been deported from the U.S. eight times, according to a news release from the sheriff's office.
The arrests cap a five-month investigation involving MCSO detectives and agents with U.S.. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security.
The smuggling ring was directing illegal immigrants from Oaxaca, Mexico, to the U.S., and is believed to have generated millions of dollars, according to the release.
Deputies said they found one weapon in the house after executing a search warrant and forcing their way into the house, the release stated.
The sheriff's office claimed to have shut down numerous drop houses used by the group during the five-month operation, according to the release.
"It's a real tragedy knowing that multiple members of this smuggling operation have been deported a number of times each," Arpaio said. "Martinez, the ringleader of this syndicate, had been deported eight times by the U.S. government."
"How can the federal government oversee all the different aspects of millions of people on a 'pathway to citizenship' if they can't manage to track and deal with people coming and going now?" Arpaio asked.
Rito-Martinez was also involved in a gun battle in 2010 in the Valley, according to local police reports.
Included in the arrests were:
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