DPS Officer's Pursuit of DREAMer Lands Woman in Stir for Six Months (w/Update)

It gets even stranger, and more infuriating. In the last minute entry in the case, dated April 17, Judge Dawn Bergin goes over the details of how Zenil ended up in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's gulags for six months.

Almost exactly one year ago, Arizona Department of Public Safety Officer Seth Turken stopped Zenil for turning right on red, where a "no right on red" sign was posted.

Zenil produced the car's registration, but only had her Mexican consulate-issued Matricular card as identification.

Turken questioned Zenil and her passengers. He learned that Zenil worked at the retail clothing store Aeropostale in a local mall. Turken issued Zenil a citation for the illegal right on red and for driving on a suspended license. He asked her for her Social Security Number, and she declined to respond.

"At some point during the encounter," writes Bergin,"[Turken] asked her how she could be working if she had no Social Security Number. Neither Officer Turken nor the defendant could recall her response."

Turken then took two photos of Zenil, "both for identification purposes and for an investigation he planned to conduct regarding the possibility that the defendant had used fraudulent documents to obtain employment."

Earlier, in order to put the other passengers of the car at ease, Turken told them that, "he was not an immigration officer and was just trying to find out what was going on."

But it seems Turken was intending to play immigration cop all along. Later, he and another DPS officer went to Zenil's place of employment to grill her. Ultimately, Turken submitted the case to the MCAO. Zenil was indicted, arrested and went on to spend a half-year in stir.

On reading Bergin's minute entry, it strikes me that DPS officers apparently have a lot of free time on their hands.

I mean, this guy went out of his way to put in jail a 23 year-old girl working retail sales to support her sick mom in Mexico. Doesn't he have some real criminals to chase, some drug dealers or something?

Fortunately, Zenil had a great advocate for her cause in pro-immigrant activist Carmen Cornejo, who has been following her case for some time. And she had some kick-ass legal representation in public defenders Amy Michelle Kalman and Christopher Manberg, who fought the prosecution at every step.

Penalosa also indicated that Zenil may have a civil claim against the county, but that is yet to be determined. First, he has to spring her from ICE custody, which I hope he can do soon. This young woman has suffered enough.

UPDATE 4/25/13 5:10PM: Zenil was taken to Eloy, according to Penalosa, and ICE still has her. But the good news is, Penalosa has been informed by ICE today that the agency will be returning Zenil to Phoenix, where they will release her. Penalosa says he was told ICE had to vet her before letting her go. Zenil could be back home tonight or tomorrow sometime, according to her attorney.

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I used to work at Eloy Detention Center, not a nice place.


"According to her immigration attorney Jose Penalosa, Zenil, 23, pleaded guilty this Monday to one misdemeanor count of possession of a forgery device. This, after spending six months in jail, nonbondable, because she was accused of felony forgery charges and presumed to be undocumented."

And she should be in hot water because SHE COMITTED A CRIME you idiot!!!!!!  You think she should get a free pass just because she is a DREAMer?  Actually, her DREAM status must be revoked and she should be deported. Oh, and the proper term is "ILLEGAL" not undocumented


What document did she forge?  What information did she misrepresent?  You can't charge someone with possession of a forgery device without the rest of the elements.  Those elements seem to be missing from the story.

dennis20 topcommenter

She was charged with possession of a forgery device. 

Was it a printing press that made forged 100 dollar bills? Nope. 

Was it a scanner, computer and software for making fake ID's for college students to drink with? Nope. 

Was it malware stealing credit card info off the internet? Nope. 

It was a pen in the hands of a 3 year old.  Nice work Montgomery. I feel so much safer now.  This is what Sheriff Arpaio, DPS and Bill Montgomery are tying up our courts with.   How they sleep at night is a real mystery.  


Taking pictures of a person cited??? I did not know that.  I knew the DPS officer had arranged a meeting with Sol in a parking lot of a Walgreens... Yeah, creepy.


Arizona, the place that hates everyone but white knuckle draggers


@Joe Arpaio's Butt Monkey (JAF)

Jan Brewer Defruaded Social Security for $75,000.00 to reward her Knife Point Rapist son Ron as he served out his sentence locked up.

Governor Brewer said: "We are a land of Laws, all Laws".

But really she meant Laws which can be perverted, and applied to Hispanic's.

What about Justice for Thieves like Jan Brewer?!

Arizona only "Enforces Select Laws of thier choice."

You Idiot!


@yourproductsucks Of course that part has been purposely left out but yes, we want to know what did she forge?  I bet she forged documents leading to her Dream Act status just like the millions of others has done and will do.


@dennis20 Forgery is a crime regardless of what was forged. It's always Arpaio's fault isn't it?


@PissOnArpaio Aah poor baby. I don't know about that but I can guarantee you that Arizona hates you. Now pack your bags and get out if you don't like it here. Piss on you!

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