By JACQUES BILLEAUD, Associated Press Writer Jacques Billeaud, Associated Press Writer Thu Mar 18, 8:16 pm ET
PHOENIX – The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office in Arizona has launched a two-day, countywide crime and immigration sweep that authorities say will focus on drop houses, drug violators and human smuggling vehicles.
Four hundred deputies and volunteer posse members are taking part in the patrols. The sweep, which began Thursday, is Sheriff Joe Arpaio's 14th since early 2008.
During the sweeps, deputies flood an area of a city — in some cases heavily Latino areas — to seek out traffic violators and arrest other alleged lawbreakers.
Critics say Arpaio's deputies have racially profiled Hispanics. The sheriff says deputies approach people only when they have probable cause to believe people have committed crimes.