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Tucson-based drug ring busted, 9 arrested
Agents of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on July 10, 2017, busted a Tucson-based narcotic trafficking ring that allegedly transported drugs via a fake Coke machine. Nine people, including 44-year-old ring leader Rene Marcos Vera, were arrested, media reports said.
Authorities have confiscated more than 85 pounds of cocaine, four bank accounts, 17 vehicles and over $145,000 in cash. Additionally, four properties worth more than $2.5 million were also seized. Scott Brown, the special agent in charge of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations division in Phoenix, said, “The accused ran a large interstate drug trafficking organization that flooded our streets with drugs.”
The arrested suspects included 38-year-old Richard Andrew Leon, 22-year-old Rene Marcos Vera II, 35-year-old Raquel Ann Stansberry, 50-year-old Cesar Diaz German, 58-year-old Rosella Maria DeLeon, 31-year-old Tawney Waner and 41-year-old Joseph Sorce. According to ICE agents, the suspects face a wide range of charges, such as drug possession and distribution, money laundering, manufacturing of illegal substances and identity theft.
Sinaloa cartel dominates drug scene along Arizona-Mexico border
According to several ranchers who live along the harsh and inaccessible swathes of hostile terrain of the Arizona-Mexico border, motion-sensor cameras installed at strategic locations across the mountainous landscape regularly capture several footages of the dangerous presence of the Sinaloa cartel in these border communities. Local ranch owners in these areas believe that drug cartels take advantage of the lack of law enforcement patrols to navigate through this hazardous topography with complete ease and utter disregard for the law.
In terms of geography, southern Arizona shares a 362-mile-long border with neighboring Mexico. Of which, 306 miles have some sort of fencing, while the rest 56 miles form a penetrable border sealed with an intermittent mesh of barbed wire, or for that matter, no physical barrier at all. This largely unguarded tract of land between Arizona’s ports of entry (POEs) connects major cities in the state with drug centers in Mexico, making the region a focal point for Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) to carry out their activities with complete freedom.
The dangerous Sinaloa Cartel has managed to successfully further its network statewide, by stationing cartel scouts across multiple vantage points in the Southern Phoenix mountain ranges. These cartel scouts are responsible for guiding load of drug consignments destined for U.S. markets through the inhospitable terrain. It is primarily because of these unique cartel scouts that massive amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and marijuana are pushed to stash houses in the Tucson and Phoenix areas before making it to drug markets within Arizona or other cities such as New York, Detroit, Chicago and Denver. Nowadays, to make matters tougher for border security officials, cartel members crossing the borders are exploiting state-of-the-art military grade satellite phones, radios and binoculars to dodge authorities to the fullest.
Leading a drug-free life
If you or your loved one is battling addiction to heroin or any other substance, seek treatment immediately. The Phoenix Drug Treatment and Rehab Center can help you avail one of the best addiction treatment programs and embark on your journey to sobriety. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 480-696-5152 for more information on different treatment options in your vicinity.