Smugglers Torture Illegal Immigrants in Phoenix Drop House

Police raided a drop house for illegal immigrants and discovered several, including a pregnant woman, whose handlers had beaten and tortured them, authorities said.

Police took 54 people into custody after the raid Friday, including four children and seven suspected smugglers.

One man's head had been wrapped in a plastic bag and submerged in a waste-filled toilet, said Maricopa County sheriff's spokesman Capt. Paul Chagolla. The man's pregnant wife was severely beaten and will probably lose her baby, he said.

Deputies are investigating reports that smugglers held at least five other immigrants at gunpoint and demanded more money.

Women and children were screaming inside the home when deputies entered, Chagolla said. There was little food and no furniture inside, he said.

"Toilets were filled with human waste and buckets were dispersed throughout the house as makeshift toilets," he said.

Sheriff's officials learned of the drop house during an investigation into human smuggling, Chagolla said. The home is the third discovered in a ring of related drop houses, and 80 people have been arrested under immigration laws, Chagolla said.

The seven suspected smugglers arrested Friday were booked on charges of aggravated assault, kidnapping, illegal control of an enterprise and human smuggling for profit.