Three Mexican men are facing federal human smuggling and illegal reentry charges after the Mesa drop house they were allegedly operating was discovered Wednesday by federal agents.
Jesus Castillo-Mejia, 47, and Genaro Guzman-Guzman, 29, were charged in federal court Thursday with human smuggling, according to a news release from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Marco Guzman-Guzman 27, the brother of Genaro, was charged with illegally re-entering the United States following a previous deportation order.
Home Security Investigations special agents received a tip Wednesday about a drop house at S. Hobson Street in Mesa. They observed several people attempting to flee from the house, according to the release, and pursued them back into the house before obtaining a federal search warrant.
Once inside the house, the agents discovered the defendants and 22 other illegal immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Ecuador. The group included three women and one teenage boy, the release said.
"To the smugglers, these people are simply a commodity, not human beings," said Matt Allen, special agent in charge of HSI in Arizona.
According to criminal complaints, Castillo-Mejia showed the illegal aliens a handgun and threatened to pistol whip anyone who tried to flee. He later demanded an additional $1,000 smuggling fee from one of the women, the release said.