Arizona Woman Accused of Human Smuggling: Up to 100 Illegals a Month for Six Months at $15K a Person
On September 23, in Arizona, Tania Estudillo Hernandez was arrested in connection with human smuggling charges. Additional charges include kidnapping, money laundering, illegally conducting or participating in an illegal enterprise, and conspiracy.
Documents recovered at the Hernandez home suggest as many as 100 illegals were held or processed in the home each month for at least six months. It is alleged that the illegals were charged as much as $15,000 in smuggling fees.
Officials with the El Mirage Police Department say they have arrested a person in connection with human smuggling.
According to a statement released on Sept. 24, officers received a report of a person being held for ransom at a home near the intersection of El Mirage Road and Thunderbird Road on the night of Sept. 23.
“The complainant stated that in the residence there were multiple people being held against their will including her husband,” read a portion of the statement.
Officials say when officers arrived, they saw a vehicle leaving the home.
“The vehicle was stopped and a suspected human smuggler, Tania Estudillo Hernandez, 24, was arrested while transporting a Guatemalan national,” read a portion of the statement.
Investigators say they discovered that 80 to 100 undocumented immigrants were held and/or processed in the home, monthly, for at least six months, and were charged as much as $15,000 in smuggling fees.
Officials say a search warrant was served at the home. During the search, a semi-automatic rifle, two handguns, one of which was reported stolen out of Phoenix, and ammunition were seized. In addition, officers also found ledgers documenting human smuggling, as well as other evidence of human smuggling, including what officials say are evidence that Hernandez managed and directed the smuggling operations.
The El Mirage Police Department posted about the arrest on their Facebook:
On September 23, 2022, at approximately 9:58 p.m., EMPD officers received a report of a person being held for ransom at 12604 West Dahlia Drive in El Mirage. The complainant stated in the residence there were multiple people kidnapped including her husband.
EMPD Officers observed a vehicle leave the home. The vehicle was stopped and a suspected human smuggler, Tania Estudillo Hernandez, age 24, was arrested while transporting a Guatemalan national. The arrest was based on evidence of Money Laundering and Conducting an Illegal Enterprise, violations of Arizona State law. Through the investigation, the EMPD learned 80-100 Undocumented Immigrants were held and or processed in the home monthly for at least six months and charged as much as $15,000 U.S. Currency in smuggling fees. EMPD learned that while conducting the traffic stop, two smugglers left the home with 10 Undocumented Immigrants.
EMPD Detectives and EMPD Neighborhood Enforcement Team Officers responded to further the investigation. The Glendale Police Department’s SWAT team assisted, and a search warrant was served at the home and a semi-auto rifle, two handguns, ammunition, ledgers documenting human smuggling, and other evidence of human smuggling was seized, to include evidence that Tania Estudillo Hernandez managed and directed smuggling operations. One of the handguns was reported stolen out of Phoenix.
Tania Estudillo Hernandez was booked into Maricopa County Jail on violations of Kidnapping, Money Laundering, Illegally conducting or participation in an illegal enterprise, and Conspiracy.