Three deputies of "the toughest Sheriff in the country" are under arrest, accused of taking part in a drug and human trafficking ring. They all work for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department, led by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, known nationwide for his tough stance on crime.
According to a report in The Arizona Republic, the employees arrested are:
Deputy Alfredo Navarrette, who served in a special unit designed to stop human smuggling. Instead, he is accused of being involved in the practice. Investigators say two undocumented immigrants were in his house when he was arrested on Tuesday.
Sylvia Najera and Marcella Hernandez are sheriff's detention officers. They are accused of money laundering and helping move drugs through the area. Hernandez is eight months pregnant.
"The fight against drugs, illegal immigration and human trafficking is important not only to me but the citizens of Arizona," Arpaio said. "That a deputy sheriff would provide information and associate with these drug and human traffickers is despicable."
A total of 12 people were arrested as part of the year-long investigation, among them the alleged ringleader and main target of the probe -- Francisco "Lorenzo" Arce-Torres, who is said to be a member of a drug cartel.