A 9-year-old girl is among 18 suspected illegal immigrants found this morning after a routine traffic stop at Interstate 10 and Riggs Road near Chandler.

An Arizona Department of Public Safety officer spotted two vehicles following closely on westbound I-10 about 5:15 a.m. and attempted to make a traffic stop. One vehicle was stopped near McQueen Road and Chandler Heights in Chandler, but the other fled into a nearby field.

In the first vehicle, the officer found 12 suspected undocumented aliens, including the 9-year-old girl, a woman and 10 males.

The second vehicle, a green pickup truck, was found abandoned in a field near McQueen. Shortly after, six suspected illegal immigrants were found, one female and five males.

The drivers of both vehicles were among the people located.

According to DPS, they were dehydrated and said they had been in the desert for three days. DPS officers responded with water and other supplies. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is talking to the drivers and those found with them.

The Vehicle Theft Task Force suspects both vehicles were stolen and were connected to smuggling activity at the time of the traffic stop, according to DPS.

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