An SUV was apparently transporting illegal aliens to Murfreesboro, Chattanooga, Cookeville, Knoxville and even Atlanta, Georgia when Williamson County sheriff’s deputies pulled it over on I-840 eastbound last week.
Eleven people were inside.
And, yes, arrests were made.
Deputies noticed the SUV had crossed the center line several times. They did a traffic stop.
“The driver told us they were headed to several different places, so we’re not sure what is correct — if it was lying or the truth,” said Williamson County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Sharon Puckett.
“They mentioned several different cities in Tennessee. They said they would drop off some of these men in East Tennessee and then continue on up north and drop off the remaining men before going back to Phoenix, Arizona,” the spokeswoman said.
According to WKRN, the SUV was a Hyundai Santa Fe.
The driver, Ivan Santana Sanchez, had a drug pipe on him, according to the station.
The station reported that two people were up front. Five people were in the back seat. Four more illegal aliens, meanwhile, were laying on top of each other in the rear.
Sheriff Jeff Long told reporter Andy Cordan that Sanchez and Mary Louis Perez, 60, smuggled the illegals from the Texas-Mexico area. Sanchez said he had done this type of thing several times previously.
“Investigators told News 2 both Sanchez and Perez admit they were paid to transport the nine people from Phoenix across the country,” the ABC affiliate reported.
Long told the station that this was human trafficking.
Authorities charged Sanchez and Perez with transport of illegal aliens.
No one at the district attorney’s office for Williamson County returned a request for comment on what, exactly, is the maximum penalty for that crime.
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