Bookmark and Share Click to subscribe to the RSS feed


ASARCO Copper Mine Theft Investigation Led By The Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) Leads To 18 Grand Jury Indictments

Indictments with 136 felony counts stem from investigation that began in late 2012

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 -

Contact PIO

Starting in late 2012, DPS Criminal Investigations Division detectives began investigating a large and complex criminal syndicate suspected of stealing enormous amounts of copper from the ASARCO mine in Hayden, Arizona. Several copper anodes (blanks) were confiscated from a tractor trailer destined for California. The anodes were mined and stolen from the ASARCO mine.

Thefts began as far back as 2006 and totaled $10 million worth of copper. Most of the stolen copper was sent to a scrap metal yard in California prior to being shipped to international destinations.

Two employees of ASARCO mine are part of the 18 grand jury indictments. RENE JOE ARBIZO and GENE CARLO GARCIA were supervisors at the mine and played critical roles in the thefts. Both Arbizo and Garcia face 10 felony counts each as a result of this investigation.

The remaining 16 suspects face a numerous charges to include Illegally Conducting an Enterprise, Conspiracy, Money Laundering, Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices, and Theft.

DPS Captain Ryan Young said, “I am extremely proud of DPS and the cooperation of all agencies involved in this international investigation”.

Below is a list of the suspects and their role in the thefts:

RENE JOE ARBIZO, supervisor at ASARCO; all counts, warrant issued

GENE CARLO GARCIA, supervisor at ASARCO; all counts, warrant issued

LILLIAN CAMPOS, former contract security guard at ASARCO; all counts, warrant issued

AVELINO RUBAL, transportation

ROBERT ELKINS, transportation

CALEB ELKINS, transportation

QUENTIN ELKINS, transportation

ANGELA RUBAL, transportation

FRANK GARCIA DUARTE, employee of Desert Metals Recycling (Desert Metals is not involved)

TODD KENNEDY, truck driver

WILLIAM STEVENS, truck driver

ALLEN NICHOLS, truck driver

CHUN CHEN PEDROZA, New Star Services employee in Upland, CA, warrant issued

JOANNE HU, New Star Services owner in Upland, CA. currently in Taiwan, warrant issued

CHIHCHAN LIN, New Star Services owner in Upland, CA. Currently in Taiwan, warrant issued

MARCOS GALLEGO, owner of Mariposa Recycling / RECYCO INC. Tucson and Nogales

JESUS MARIANO LUNA VAZQUEZ, supervisor at Mariposa Recycling in Nogales

LOUIS ERNESTO GALLEGO, relative to Marcos Gallego, introduced Rubal to Vazquez

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.