Arizona District Attorney’s Office Charges Almost 2,000 Illegal Immigrants with Illegal Entry During First Three Months of 2023

The Arizona District of the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) released the first quarter of 2023 immigration enforcement statistics for individuals prosecuted in partnership with the Tucson and Yuma Sectors of Border Patrol.

“Reducing migrant smuggling and mitigating the risk to communities impacted by these offenses continues to be a priority for the Office and its law enforcement partners. Some of these prosecutions are directed against leaders and coordinators of alien smuggling organizations. Other prosecutions are aimed at deterring young adult drivers, often recruited over social media platforms, from engaging in this dangerous activity,” the district shared.

According to the release, between January 1st and March 31st, 2023, the USAO charged over 1,700 individuals for illegally entering the country across Arizona’s borders. Beyond the immigrants, the department went after the smugglers, announcing 335 cases against Arizona smugglers, three of which involved a juvenile acting as the driver.

These numbers align with previous quarterly statistics, which saw the highest amount between July and September 2022, when over 2,000 immigrants were charged. The numbers lowered in the final quarter of 2022, seeing 1,456 charges, but Tuesday’s release showed that charges are rising back up.

However, it should be noted that these numbers only represent cases the USAO prosecuted and do not represent the total number of individuals encountered or apprehended by law enforcement. For that number, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s most recent stats showed a large rise in immigrants encountered along the southern border in March, totaling 191,899 compared to 156,138 in February. However, these encounters were far less than in 2022, which saw over 220,000 in March.

As reported by The Arizona Sun Times, criminal organizations are praying on American citizens with the promise of quick cash to sneak illegal citizens into the country. Tucson Chief Border Patrol Agent John Modlin recently began sharing testimony from young adults who fall for these ads on social media. The newest testimony shared the story of a young college man who responded to a post on Snapchat advertising thousands of dollars for a driving job in Arizona but was unaware that he would be transporting noncitizens. He was eventually arrested and may face federal charges.

Modlin shared that over 2,500 Arizona young adults were arrested for smuggling noncitizens in 2022 alone.

Nonetheless, the USAO remains busy sentencing criminal smugglers. On Monday, the Arizona District announced that Salvador Lopez-Vargas, 36, of Michoacan, Mexico, will face three years in prison, with an additional three years of supervised release for managing a smuggling effort to bring 90 immigrants into the U.S. The noncitizens were from Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras and were kept in a stash house and apartment in the Phoenix area managed by Lopez-Vargas.

Two drug traffickers were also recently put away by the USAO, starting with Taylor Melton Addington, 33, a Phoenix resident who will be imprisoned for the next six years for pedaling methamphetamine. Undercover agents bought drugs from Addington, eventually convincing him to supply 100 pounds. The meeting occurred in Washington state, where he was arrested and brought back to Arizona for trial.

On Friday, Phoenix resident Luis Ernesto Morales-Reyes, 38, received six-and-a-half years in prison for selling fentanyl. He was arrested while delivering 99,500 pills to an undercover agent and admitted to making similar deliveries in the past. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, six out of every ten illicit fentanyl pills tested in 2022 contained a potentially lethal dosage of the opioid. Therefore, Morales-Reyes’s single delivery could have hypothetically caused upwards of 59,700 overdoses.

Moreover, his stash is relatively small compared to the amounts flooding across the southern border. Between April 19th and 22nd, Nogales Port of Entry officials confiscated nearly 800,000 fentanyl pills hidden in vehicles attempting to enter the U.S.

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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “El Paso Border Patrol Agents Intercept a Large Group of Migrants” by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.


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3 Thoughts to “Arizona District Attorney’s Office Charges Almost 2,000 Illegal Immigrants with Illegal Entry During First Three Months of 2023”

  1. Mona

    This is a little drop in bucket to make people forgetting over 90,000 Haitian caring ever know disease they flew all around released and Muslim and Chinese iover another million walking right in carrying loads and loads of drugs paying off debt to cartel after invading and causing thousands and thousands more 24 hrs a day and all night destroying Arizona breaking into homes and ranches attacking border patrol in Az.We hear know the truth!NOT SAFE HERE NOW!!!

    1. Mona

      Would you be safe here now??????Nope

  2. Bruce_in_AZ

    Not enough. Human trafficking is being allowed to flourish. Highschoolers are ferrying illegals across the state. The Biden admin is placing uncompiled minors in the hands of child traffickers and they are being used as slaves. Illegal immigration is the most effective thing there is to destroy a nation.