Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio has made a name for himself as “America’s toughest Sheriff.” For the past several years, Arpaio has waged a crusade against Maricopa County’s undocumented population through immigration sweeps and dehumanizing tactics.
Yet, it turns out Arpaio’s own Sheriff’s Office is part of the problem. While Arpaio has targeted pregnant immigrant women and undocumented families, three members of his own office may have been members of an international drug and human trafficking ring. The Associated Press reports:
Three employees of America’s self-proclaimed toughest sheriff have been arrested in a drug and human trafficking case, authorities said Tuesday. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said a deputy and two female detention officers at the sheriff’s largest jail facility were among 12 people taken into custody and accused of being in a Phoenix-based international drug smuggling ring. [...]
As part of the investigation, officers on Tuesday seized 10 pounds of heroin, nearly $200,000 in cash, weapons, vehicles and stolen property.
The story goes on to explain that detention officer Marcella Hernandez is pregnant with the child of an alleged member of the Mexican Sinaloa cartel. Deputy Ruben Navarette — who was once assigned to the sheriff’s human smuggling unit — has been charged with human smuggling, money laundering, controlling an illegal enterprise, and conspiracy. Hernandez faces felony charges. Seven other employees of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office are being investigated for their possible involvement.
The news come just as two of Arpaio’s top aides were forced to resign over misconduct, mismanagement and criminal behavior allegations. A financial review of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office records recently revealed that his office misspent at least $99.5 million over the last eight years.
Arpaio flippantly responded to today’s news, stating, “Every organization, you’re going to find some people who do wrong…It’s human nature.”