Dec 9--Yuma, AZ – On December 2, 2004, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), in conjunction with a multi-jurisdictional force comprised of other federal law enforcement agencies and local police, arrested eight members of a significant methamphetamine trafficking organization responsible for supplying multi-pound quantities of methamphetamine to buyers in Southern California and in Phoenix, Arizona and surrounding areas.
Those arrested in Yuma County were the following: Adrian Palencia-Rodriquez, Victor Rodriguez-Tapia, Marco Antonio Cuevas, Alejandro Jesus Hernandez, Elisa Aide Lazalde-Guevara and Ricardo Salinas-Garcia. Various financial and business documents were also seized.
DEA Los Angeles HIDTA Group 42 arrested Jesus Pacheco-Nunez and Pablo Begar-Hernandez and seized the following items pursuant to a search warrant at Begar-Rodriguez’ residence in Orange County: approximately 9 pounds of methamphetamine, 1 pound of cocaine and 100 pounds of marijuana. Also seized were a 12 gauge Colt Shotgun, a SKS Assault Rifle, 3 handguns, approximately $6,000 dollars and a Ford F-150 Pick up Truck. At Pacheco-Nunez’ residence, agents seized a Toyota Camry, drug packaging material and approximately $6,000.
On November 17, 2004, a Maricopa County Superior Court Judge authorized the arrest warrants stemming from charges related to this investigation pursuant to a State of Arizona Grand Jury Indictment. All those arrested are charged with conspiracy to illegally conduct an enterprise, illegally conducting an enterprise, offer to transport for sale or transfer for sale methamphetamine, and use of a communication facility to facilitate a drug trafficking felony. Warrants to search their properties were also issued.
Today’s arrests were the result of a seven-month long investigation that targeted a Yuma-based methamphetamine trafficking ring led by Rosa Rodriguez who had direct links to major Mexican sources of supply. Rosa Rodriguez along with Jesus Pacheco-Nunez and Pablo Begar-Hernandez were among the most significant leaders in the organization responsible for directing numerous methamphetamine distributors and couriers throughout Southern California and central Arizona.
Rosa Rodriguez was arrested in San Luis, Arizona on November 23, 2004 and remains in custody.
The investigation indicated that the organization was distributing up to 10 pounds of high quality methamphetamine per week throughout Arizona and Southern California grossing approximately $400,000 per month or $4,800,000 annually.
This operation was a collaborative effort among state, local and federal agencies designed to exert force against drug traffickers in local communities in Arizona and neighboring states and also to disrupt and dismantle cells of larger organizations.
“As these arrests and seizures demonstrate, Arizona has a serious methamphetamine problem,” said Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard. “In addition to prosecuting the people involved in this drug ring, I will be going to the legislature with a proposal to help fight the growing meth crisis in Arizona.”
Special Agent in Charge Timothy J. Landrum said, “The Rodriguez organization was a significant methamphetamine trafficking group whose tentacles stretched across the Mexico border and into the American Southwest. These drug traffickers poisoned too many of our neighborhoods, and DEA and our partners have arrested these career criminals and seized their illicit profits. Arizona citizens are now safer as this organization lies in shambles.
According to research by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America in 2004, 60% of parents in the Phoenix area are talking to their kids about the dangers of methamphetamine. It is much higher than the national average of just 32%. Research shows that when parents have frequent conversations with their kids about the dangers of drugs, kids are 50% less likely to use drugs.
The prosecution is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Billie Rosen, Office of Attorney General, Phoenix, Arizona.
The participating agencies in this investigation were the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, United States Marshals Service, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Yuma County Sheriff’s Office, Yuma Police Department, Yuma Southwest Border Alliance HIDTA Task Force and DEA Los Angeles HIDTA Group 42.