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GILA BEND, Ariz. -- Authorities say four bodies have been found in the desert near Gila Bend, but there's no immediate word on their identities or nationalities.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office says the bodies were discovered Thursday morning along Interstate 8.

Sheriff's officials say they don't know yet if the bodies are those of immigrants trying to enter the country without legal permission who didn't survive the desert's brutal heat.

Authorities say the Gila Bend area has been a pathway for traffickers headed to Phoenix, which is a busy hub for moving migrants and marijuana into the United States.

A report released earlier this month showed deaths of migrants entering the country illegally along the Southwest border have remained steady at an average of 150 a year since 2002.

Associated Press,

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