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Fatal Phoenix shootout a glimpse into migrant trafficking

Posted: 7:49 AM, Apr 23, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-23 10:49:10-04
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PHOENIX (AP) - A fatal shootout between federal officers in Arizona and a suspected migrant smuggler packing an AK-47 has provided a glimpse inside the brutal tactics of traffickers who sometimes prey on recent border-crossers, even holding them against their will to shake down their families.

Agents killed 29-year-old driver Theresa Medina Thomas on April 11 and arrested 35-year-old Warren Earl Jose, who was armed in the front passenger seat. A third suspect was in the backseat with Spanish-speaking migrants, a man and an adolescent girl.

Jose is being held on suspicion of a conspiracy to transport migrants that resulted in death.

Agents were looking for Jose as a suspect after a dehydrated migrant who had blistered feet was picked up in the desert and threatened before escaping days later.