Drug-trafficking ring broken up - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Drug-trafficking ring broken up

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Posted: Saturday, August 26, 2006 6:38 am | Updated: 4:03 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

A seizure of cocaine and methamphetamine valued between $1.1 million and $1.4 million has led to the breakup of a drug organization based in Sinaloa, Mexico, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office said Friday.

A three-month investigation has resulted in a 417-count indictment against 69 people — 10 of whom are in custody, officials said while standing near a cache of drugs, cash and weapons at the Phoenix Police Property Management Bureau.

Among those in custody, Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris said, are key players Amando Gamboa-Molina, Adrian Barraza-Mendoza, Mario Velasco-Felix and Noel Velasco-Felix.

The evidence includes 49 kilograms of cocaine, 50 pounds of methamphetamine, 2 pounds of crack cocaine, 16 guns and 33 vehicles. Most of the drugs were in vehicles. Authorities said 25 pounds of meth were found under a car seat carrying a child.

Approximately $2.5 million also was seized. This amount includes $1 million of bail money posted by Gamboa-Molina. The money had been seized after an Aug. 1 hearing in which a judge ruled the money was not from legitimate sources.

Phoenix has served as what police are calling a transhipment site, where drugs come before being sent across the United States.

Mayor Phil Gordon warned drug dealers that Phoenix isn’t a haven for their activity.

“This city is not a sanctuary city,” Gordon said. “But this is a city for our families.”

Authorities remain tightlipped and are withholding many details of the investigation as they continue to look for those who are involved in the smuggling.

The partnership between the Phoenix Police Department, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Arizona Attorney General’s Office led to the arrests and indictments, Attorney General Terry Goddard said.

The attorney general’s office and courts will eventually decide the disposition of the money, which could go to law enforcement agencies.

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