Three Maricopa County Cops Busted for Human, Drug Smuggling

It seems that America's toughest sheriff, Joe Arpaio, isn't so tough after all.

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Sheriff Arpaio has three fingers pointing back at himself. (Google)

You've heard the saying, "Those who cast stones should not live in glass houses"? Such is the case with Maricopa County, Ariz.'s Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has been called the toughest sheriff in all of America. It seems that while he's chasing down so-called illegals, three police officers under his command have been up to no good.

New York's Daily News is reporting that three Arizona cops smuggled drugs and humans and laundered money for a vast narco-trafficking ring, all under the nose of the self-proclaimed "America's toughest sheriff," authorities said.

One of the moles, a female corrections officer, was carrying the love child of a cartel capitán, and all three were accused of leaking sheriff's-office tips to help the ring guide smugglers, drugs and cash through the area from Mexico, authorities said. What is this, a telenovela?

Back to the regularly scheduled program. Arpaio, who is really tough -- except maybe on his folks -- said that two corrections officers, Sylvia Najera, 25, and Marcella Hernandez, 28, were among 12 people rounded up in Tuesday's sting. The early-morning raids capped a yearlong investigation into the ring, which is suspected of funneling loads of heroin into the Valley area west of Phoenix.

Navarette, a 10-year veteran of Arpaio's anti-human-smuggling unit, was arrested when he showed up for work, and a sweep of his apartment found two illegal immigrants hiding there. Arpaio said that Hernandez was eight months pregnant with the child of Francisco Arce-Torres, the operation's ringleader, who has ties to Mexico's notorious Sinaloa cartel. She and Najera were busted on their way to work at the county's largest  jail, and cops said Hernandez had nearly $20,000 on her.

Arpaio is resisting calls that he step down because of the scandal. When you're the Toughest Sheriff in America, you should be able to deliver on all fronts, not just on rounding up undocumented workers. How exactly do you have in your employ folks working for one of the most notorious drug cartels in Mexico? And one of them is pregnant with the ringleader's child? Is that "Hit the Road, Jack" we hear playing in the background? If not, it should be. Arpaio may be tough, but he lacks integrity, because no one should have to ask him to step down. But then again, it is Arpaio -- rules for everyone except himself.

Read more at the Daily News.

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