Arizona — Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies raided Lasermasters Thursday morning in the ending of a six-month investigation that started with a tip to the MCSO immigration hotline from one of the employee’s.
Police converged on Lasermasters location shortly after 8 a.m.
According to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, investigators had information that 35 people working at Lasermasters, a company that supplies printer cartridges and are allegedly allowing undocumented immigrants who used fake documents to get their jobs.
MCSO said its deputies, armed with search warrants, went to the Lasermasters location to look for employee files and records on those 35 people. By the end of performance, 24 Lasermasters employees had been arrested, all suspected of being in the country illegally and engaging in identity theft, which is a class 4 felony.
MCSO Det. Aaron Douglas said the investigation was part of a potential employer-sanctions case. Sheriff Joe Arpaio said this operation — the 32nd of its kind — had zero to do with Arizona’s new immigration law, although he does believe the law will be beneficial as his office works these kinds of cases in the future.
One of the many employee’s that was present when the raid went down at Lasermasters spoke to 3TV’s Javier Soto saying deputies busted into the building, yelling “Where are the rats hiding?”
Sheriff Joe Arpaio said his deputies did their jobs properly executing the operation “very professionally.”
“We went in very, very professionally. No guns were ever drawn, even though 10 people were escaping or in the process of escaping. We still did not draw our guns,” Sheriff Arpaio said. “We know what we did, and the people inside know what we did.
“The bottom line is we came in here, enforcing the laws, executing search warrants, and you’re always going to have some critics make up stories,” he continued.
The employee who talked to Javier Soto said he is a Hispanic American who has blond hair and blue eyes. The man said at no point did the deputies try to steer him about his immigration status.
At one point a spectator who had become very emotional revealed that her husband was one of the arrested. She actually had to be restrained as she tried to get to him. She said that this would tear her family apart.
According to MCSO, the previous operations like this morning’s raid have resulted in 362 undocumented immigrants being arrested. Of those, 231 were suspected of identity theft, which is a class 4 felony.
Laser Masters is a private company categorized under Toner Cartridge, Prepared Photographic (Not Made in Chemical Plants) and located in Phoenix, AZ. Our records show it was established in 1997* and incorporated in Arizona*. Current estimates show this company has an annual revenue of $20 to 50 million and employs a staff of approximately 50 to 99. They manufacture Printer Cartridge and Printer Cartridges wholesale for resellers as supplies for computer printers.