US authorities nab 17 in search for deputy's attackers



US authorities nab 17 in search for deputy`s attackers Phoenix: Authorities have captured 17 suspected illegal immigrants in southern Arizona as they continued their manhunt on Saturday for smugglers who they say shot and wounded a sheriff's deputy in a remote desert area 50 miles (80 kilometres) south of Phoenix.

Three of those captured overnight on Friday matched descriptions from the wounded Pinal County deputy and were being questioned yesterday, Sheriff's Lt Tamatha Villar said. The deputy was released from the hospital, and was recovering at home.

The shooting came amid a growing national debate over the state's new law cracking down on illegal immigration. A backlash over the law has erupted, with civil rights activists, concerned it will lead to racial profiling, calling for protests and boycotts.

Criticism of the law was sure to figure prominently at dozens of immigrants rights marches and rallies planned for Saturday across the nation, including one set for the grounds of the Arizona state Capitol.

The new law's passage came amid increasing anger in Arizona about violence, drug smugglers and illegal immigration drop houses. The issue gained renewed attention a month ago when a southern Arizona rancher was shot and killed by a suspected illegal border crosser.

PTI