AZ DPS
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PRESS RELEASES

Arizona Department of Public Safety and Federal Officials Announce Operation "Smash"

303 pounds of cocaine and meth taken off the streets

Tuesday, September 14, 2010 -


State and federal officials announce the arrests and charges against a Mexican Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) believed to be responsible for moving hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine and cocaine through Arizona. The organization utilized sophisticated hidden vehicle compartments to avoid detection.

In April 2009, the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission (GIITEM) Unit in Yuma started a criminal investigation into a mid-level drug organization in Yuma County. As the case progressed, detectives discovered a nexus to a major Mexican Drug Trafficking Organization.

Based on a good working relationship with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the Yuma area, DPS Detectives requested DEA’s partnership in the investigation. An Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) was created and the operation was named “SMASH”.

During the fourteen (14) month operation, DPS and DEA worked together to seize 158 pounds of cocaine and 145 pounds of methamphetamine before it reached our communities. Also seized during the operation were 17 vehicles, $350,000 in U.S. currency and six weapons.

Fourteen suspects were arrested on a variety of charges, including possession or use, sale, transportation for sale or import into this State, sale transfer or offer to sell or transfer a narcotic or dangerous drug.

Eleven (11) suspects were indicted for possession or use, sale, transportation for sale or import into this State, sale transfer or offer to sell or transfer a narcotic or dangerous drug; use of wire or electronic communication in furtherance of an illegal enterprise; illegal control of an enterprise or illegally conducting an enterprise; conspiracy to commit these violations.

The prosecution was handled by the U.S. Attorney's Office.