PHOENIX (AP) _ Deputies found three illegal immigrants in the desert about 50 miles west of here Wednesday, a day after authorities discovered as many as 100 immigrants abandoned by smugglers in temperatures that exceeded 110 degrees.

The illegal immigrants told investigators three people had died in the desert, but officials concluded the search Wednesday afternoon after no bodies were found, said Sgt. Jim Kempher, a sheriff's spokesman.

``We felt pretty good that we've searched the area thoroughly,'' Kempher said. ``If there are more, they're hiding pretty good.''

The three immigrants found Wednesday gave themselves up after walking to Interstate 10, said Lt. Paul Chagolla, a spokesman for the Maricopa County sheriff's office.

Twenty-five of the immigrants found Tuesday and three deputies were hospitalized. Most immigrants had been released by Wednesday, but one, a woman, remained in critical condition and three others were in serious condition. Many illegal immigrants had been treated at the scene for heat-related illnesses.

Many of the illegal immigrants found Tuesday were from Guatemala.

Deputies first discovered the immigrants Tuesday as they patrolled a dirt road and saw a suspicious vehicle coming out of the brush. The immigrants were in distress and stepped out into the view of the deputies.

Federal authorities took custody of many of the rescued border-crossers, who were expected to face removal proceedings in immigration court.

The state has a new anti-immigration law that Maricopa County has used to prosecute illegal immigrants, but Sheriff Joe Arpaio said the immigrants found Tuesday would not be arrested because they were not caught in the act of being transported by a smuggler.

Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, is Arizona's most populous county. The area searched is about 120 miles north of the Mexican border.


Associated Press Writers Jacques Billeaud and Chris Kahn contributed to this report.