by Raquel Velasco
The Arizona Republic
Nineteen people held captive were found and rescued late Wednesday after police served a search warrant at a drophouse in Avondale, officials said.
A Department of Public Safety task force served the search warrant at about 7 p.m. Wednesday at the house in the area of 109th Avenue and Locust Lane.
Inside the house were a total of 23 people, including four suspected human smugglers.
When officers entered the house, six people ran out of the master bedroom, smashing through the glass, severely cutting themselves in the process. Four of those people were identified as suspected human smugglers.
Two of the people who were being held captive had broken ribs, cuts and bruises and were believed to have been beaten by the smugglers, according to DPS. They were taken to a local hospital for treatment.
The suspected smugglers brought the victims into the house and beat several of them with a curtain rod, wooden sticks and pistols as punishment for not paying the extortion fee, DPS said.
All of the victims were placed in a boarded up room and their belongings were taken from them. It is unclear how long the victim’s were held captive.
Authorities found two semi-automatic guns, 15.5 pounds of marijuana and $1,000 in the house.
Manuel Castro, 29, Anslemo Mancinas, 29, Enrique Alfredo Perez, 20, and Ivan Rodriquez, 29, were all booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail on suspicion of armed robbery, kidnapping, extortion, human smuggling and aggravated assault charges.
DPS said they believe this is one of the most severe cases of abuse in a drop house they have investigated. The 23 people are believed to be undocumented immigrants and were turned over to immigration authorities.