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PRESS RELEASES

Arizona Department of Public Safety GIITEM Task Force arrests 22 suspects as part of Operation Triple Threat

Of 25 indicted, 22 are in custody

Friday, December 11, 2009 -

On Thursday and Friday, December 10-11, 2009, a warrant round-up was conducted as part of Operation “Triple Threat”. This involved the idictment of 25 suspects, 22 of whom were taken into custody, and is a multi-jurisdictional investigation coordinated by the DPS administered Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission (GIITEM). In addition to DPS, the Scottsdale Police Department, Peoria Police Department, Phoenix Police Department and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office contributed to this operation.

“Triple Threat” began as an investigation of three groups identified originally as party crews. The three groups emerged from three different north valley high schools. At the beginning, the groups were involved in minor crimes such as promoting parties where alcohol was furnished and sold to underage people. After a while they got involved in more serious crimes. The Indictment reflects:

• 2 Counts Burglary in the 1st Degree
• 2 Counts Armed Robbery
• 3 Counts Kidnapping
• 2 Counts Criminal Damage
• 10 Counts Endangerment
• 10 Counts Aggravated Assault
• 1 Count Illegally Conducting a Criminal Enterprise
• 1 Count Assisting a Criminal Street Gang
• 1 Count Trafficking in Stolen Property 1st Degree
• 1 Count Riot

At some point the three groups became inter-related and began committing felony crimes together leading to their classification as a gang. Twenty-five suspects were identified and charged with numerous felony counts to include conducting a criminal enterprise.

Over the course of this year-long investigation, six search warrants were served resulting in the recovery of stolen property, 1,017 tablets of Soma, 200 tablets of Xanax, 90 tablets of Valium and 70 Neo-Pircodan. In addition, six rifles were recovered along with 3 handguns, 1 assault rifle, 1 sawed off shotgun, 3 shotguns, 3 batons and one set of body armor.

“Operation Triple Threat is the culmination of some painstaking work by our GIITEM detectives working with several valley law enforcement agencies to connect the dots of criminal wrongdoing involving these groups. It demonstrates the point that criminal enterprises aren’t confined to low income areas. An excellent investigation by GIITEM and our task force members,” said Roger Vanderpool, Director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety

“Criminals have no boundaries and spread their violence across a wide area and several cities. Being part of a task force like this is so valuable; they are cost effective, provide for effective communication and information sharing and allow a large number of officers to be directed at an issue without burdening any one agency with providing the staff,” said Larry Ratcliff, City of Peoria Police Chief.

“The criminals involved in these cases are responsible for multiple violent and property crimes. We are pleased to be part of this operation and to know that these suspects are in custody and will be brought to justice for the crimes that they have committed. I continue to be impressed by the high level of cooperation demonstrated by the agencies involved. I am certain that these mutual efforts will continue to keep our community safe,” said John Cocca, City of Scottsdale Assistant Police Chief.

*Photos and video are available on the photo link below*

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