The number of illegal immigrants arrested in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah soared 32 percent last year over 2001. The Immigration and Naturalization Service placed special teams across Colorado's western slope and three cities in Utah to increase enforcement.
Authorities picked up 12,183 illegal immigrants. I.N.S. agents say 94 people were prosecuted in 2002 for smuggling undocumented workers into the country. Three Denver-based asbestos removal firms were also convicted of hiring illegal aliens.
The Durango and Alamosa units respond to calls from the State Patrol on U.S. Highway 160. Authorities say those units make more arrests than any similar I.N.S. units in the country.