Phoenix — An investigation and a separate operation during the week of June 3rd, leads to the recovery of 24 stolen vehicles the arrest of 17 people and the dismantling of two chop shops.
On Tuesday, June 5th, after an investigation and with the assistance of the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s (AZDPS) SWAT Team, Vehicle Theft Task Force (VTTF) detectives from Arizona’s Border Strike Force (ABSF) served a search warrant at a property in the west valley. While serving the warrant, three stolen vehicles, drugs, and additional stolen items were discovered on the property. The chop shop was then dismantled.
Jeffrey J. Martino, 55, of Phoenix, was arrested for outstanding warrants. Additionally, John M. Kenshalo, 60, of Phoenix, was arrested for multiple misdemeanor warrants. Further charges are pending.
In a second operation that began June 6th and ran through June 7th, VTTF detectives and partnering west valley law enforcement agencies conducted saturation operations in the Phoenix West Valley Metropolitan Area to locate, recover and interdict stolen vehicles. This joint effort yielded the following results:
- Warrant Arrests: 9
- Methamphetamine: 77 grams
- Search Warrants: 2
- Vehicles Seized (with VIN/PIN - missing or altered): 3
- Stolen Vehicles Recovered: 21
- Chop Shop: 1
Working alongside VTTF detectives during this operation were detectives from police departments in Glendale, Goodyear, Peoria, Phoenix, and Surprise.
VTTF Captain Paul Etnire said, “Stolen vehicles are often driven to help facilitate other serious crimes and frequently have connections to border related crimes. This operation is a great example of the partnership between local and state law enforcement, who worked together to provide a force multiplier in the fight against crime.”
The VTTF is comprised of city, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies participating in a concerted effort to identify, apprehend, and prosecute individuals and criminal organizations that profit from the theft of motor vehicles and related crimes. VTTF provides a vital mission on behalf of the Arizona Automobile Theft Authority (AATA) to reduce vehicle theft in Arizona by deterring criminal activity through aggressive, proactive enforcement and by creating a public awareness through community education. Through continued grant funding from AATA, the VTTF will continue to provide exemplary services to the citizens of Arizona.
The ultimate goal in the creation of the Arizona Border Strike Force is to deter, disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organizations that breach the border in their quest to set up business in our state. Specific units within the Border Strike Force Bureau include the Canine District, the Southern Investigations District, and the Vehicle Theft District.
Learn more at: https://www.azdps.gov/organization/CID/bsf