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12-plus suspected immigrants rescued

The Arizona Republic

The Arizona Republic

Authorities said they rescued at least a dozen suspected illegal immigrants Sunday morning in the Gila Bend area, and they suspect there may be others missing who separated from the group.

The victims’ conditions are unknown, and a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said the agency is being told that two from the separated group may be dead.

The Sheriff’s Office assisted the U.S. Border Patrol and the Department of Public Safety by air and by ground in the rescue mission for 12 to 15 people who are suspected of crossing the border illegally from Mexico.

Deputy Doug Matteson, a sheriff’s spokesman, said the search began Saturday night near the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Gunnery Range, which runs along the Mexican border.

Matteson said at least a dozen people were found and taken to safety.

The search is on for another five to seven people in a group that split from the main group, he said.

Border Patrol agents got to the desert area, where the main group was found, about 9:30 a.m. Sunday, and said the rescue mission was prompted by a 911 distress call.

Those rescued were reportedly airlifted out of the desert, but it is unclear where they were taken.

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