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Operation “Gila Monster” arrests 36 people in connection to a major drug operation in Southeast Arizona

Tuesday, May 1, 2012 -

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In the early morning hours of May 1, the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS), in cooperation with six other police agencies arrested 36 people as a result of a four-month investigation into a multiple drug operations in the communities of Safford, Thatcher, Pima, and Eastern Arizona College.

This informal Southeast Arizona Narcotics Task Force is comprised officers from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Safford Police Department, Graham County Sheriff’s Office, Eastern Arizona College Police, Thatcher Police Department, and the Pima Police Department. Also assisting with this operation was the Graham County Probation Department and the United States Border Patrol. In all, a total of 70 officers and agents worked together to arrest 36 of the 43 arrest warrants.

The culmination of this four-month investigation lead to the identification of 43 suspects involved in the sale of Methamphetamine, Cocaine, Heroin, Marijuana, and prescription drugs to include predominantly OxyCodone.

The estimated street value of the drugs removed from those communities during the investigation was $50,000.

On the execution of these warrants, an additional nine people were identified and arrested in connection to this case and several drugs were seized. In addition to the drug seizures, three vehicles and five weapons were seized.

Department of Public Safety, Captain Young, the incident commander of the operation said “This is a great example of how several police agencies work together and remove criminals and dangerous drugs from our communities”. Captain Young went on to say “It is our belief that this operation has lead to a safer community and those families can sleep more comfortably with the conclusion of this investigation”.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety is a state-level law enforcement agency whose mission is to protect human life and property by enforcing state laws, deterring criminal activity and providing vital support to the State of Arizona and its citizens.