Elaborate drug-trafficking cell busted

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by Jennifer Thomas

Video report by Kristine Harrington

Posted on July 7, 2012 at 10:05 AM

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Authorities announced Friday that they have dismantled an elaborate drug-trafficking cell in Tempe that is associated with the Sinaloa Cartel from Mexico.

Twenty people have been arrested and $2.4 million in cash was found after a six-month undercover investigation involving local and federal authorities, according to officials with the Drug Enforcement Agency, Tempe Police Department and Arizona Attorney General's Office.

A Cessna aircraft, 10 vehicles, 14 weapons, 3 tons of marijuana and 30 pounds of methamphetamine were also seized during "Operation Nayarit Stampede."

Tempe police detectives initiated the investigation after obtaining information regarding possible stash houses in the 1200 block of West Jeanine Drive and 1200 block of South McClintock Drive in Tempe.

Detectives were able to develop evidence of a drug-trafficking organization that delivered illegal drugs to Tempe, as well as other customers residing in New York, Alabama, California and throughout other parts of the country. 

"DEA and our partners have taken large quantities of drugs, millions of dollars in drug trafficker assets, and powerful weapons off our streets," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman. "We will continue to do everything in our power to bring to justice those who try to poison our communities."

"This operation demonstrated a collaborative effort by state and federal law enforcement agencies," said Tempe Chief of Police Tom Ryff. "As chief of police I am committed to working in partnership with the community, state and federal law enforcement agencies to curtail drug trafficking in the city of Tempe and throughout the Valley."
 

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