Douglas resident Stella Peterson, 51, and her son Anthony Peterson, 30, were arrested and charged with harboring illegal aliens for profit on Aug. 31.
“Stella Peterson, an investigative assistant assigned to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Douglas, was arrested Aug. 31 on allegations that she harbored illegal aliens,” Spokesperson for ICE, Amber Cargile said. “HSI takes all allegations of employee misconduct seriously and is fully cooperating with the ongoing investigation by the Southern Arizona Corruption Task Force (SACTF). Ms. Peterson was placed on paid administrative leave following her arrest and will remain on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation and criminal charges.”
According to court documents, on Aug. 28 three illegal aliens and material witnesses, Juan Ortiz-Garcia, Juan Jose Perez-Cruz and Juan Carlos Garduno-Ordonez told Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) agents, they had been smuggled into a residence located at 902 8th Street; the home of Stella Peterson.
Anthony Peterson was identified by two of the material witnesses as the person who harbored them.
The witnesses stated they had paid an unknown subject in Mexico approximately $2,000-$3,000 each to be smuggled by Anthony Peterson. Peterson charged them an additional $100 to be taken from an alleyway to his mother Stella Peterson’s house.
He was arrested and held at Cochise County jail and released to the SACTF on Aug. 31.
Stella Peterson provided the FBI with a voluntary statement stating she knew her son Anthony, had been harboring and smuggling illegal aliens in her home.
She admitted to having illegal aliens smuggled in and out of her residence on at least four other occasions. She also admitted to providing material assistance to the illegals and to receiving financial assistance for harboring them from her son.
No further information was provided at the time, the FBI’s Southern Arizona Corruption Task Force is conducting the ongoing investigation in this matter.