A federal judge has ruled that Maricopa County, Ariz., can no longer charge illegal immigrants caught being smuggled into the country as conspirators in the crime.

U.S. District Judge Robert Broomfield's Friday ruling said Sheriff Joe Arpaio and prosecutors can't enforce a 2005 state law permitting the charge because it conflicts with federal law, reports the Associated Press.

Seventy-five percent of the approximately 1,800 people charged under the smuggling law in Maricopa County through June 2011 were facing counts of conspiring to sneak themselves into the country.

Immigration rights groups filed to challenge the statute.

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