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Ex-Arizona official pleads guilty to human smuggling charge

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Posted at 11:48 AM, Jun 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-24 14:48:17-04

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A former Arizona official has pleaded guilty to a human smuggling charge in Arkansas for what prosecutors say was his role in running an illegal adoption scheme in three states involving women from the Marshall Islands.

Paul Petersen pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to commit human smuggling, the third guilty plea he's entered for the scheme. Petersen is a Republican who served as Maricopa County's assessor for six years until he resigned in January.

He pleaded guilty in Arizona and Utah to smuggling and fraud charges last week. A sentencing hearing has not bee set for Petersen.