News Release
Date: March 07, 2012
Contact: Special Agent Ramona Sanchez
Number: 602 664-5725

Multiple Arrests, Seizures in Arizona Connected To Sinaloa Cartel
128 Pounds of Meth, 33 Kilograms of Cocaine, Nearly $300,000 in Operation Smoke in Glass

March 7 (Phoenix, AZ ) — DEA along with the Glendale (Arizona) Police Department Special Investigations Unit (SIU) today arrested 12 individuals on drug-related charges and the seizure of
more than 222 pounds of drugs as part of an eight month multi-agency law enforcement investigation dubbed, Operation Smoke in Glass.

“DEA and our partners are committed to hitting traffickers who violate America’s borders with coordinated, strategic investigations like the one we have announced today,” said DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman. “In Arizona and across Southwest Border communities, DEA is determined to find them, shut down their operations and put them where they belong—behind bars.”

Operation Smoke in Glass targeted a large-scale drug trafficking organization linked to the powerful Sinaloa Cartel, headed by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. This criminal organization has been active since 2009 smuggling large amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin from Mexicali and Sonoita, Mexico up to Maricopa County, Arizona. The organization routinely used backpackers to transport the drug loads across the Arizona/Mexico Border. Once in the Arizona, the drugs were being stored in various stash houses located in west Phoenix including one in
Laveen then distributed to various locations in the west and Midwestern states.

To date, Operation Smoke in Glass has resulted in the seizure of 128 pounds of methamphetamine, 33 kilograms of cocaine and 10 pounds of heroin, with a total street value of over $2.2 million dollars. Agents also seized close to $300,000.

More than 50 agents and officers participated in today’s operation that included nine simultaneous search warrants on suspected stash houses. Additional arrests are anticipated.

The investigative efforts in Operation Smoke in Glass were coordinated by the DEA Westside Task Force, comprised of the Glendale Police Department, the Surprise Police Department, the Buckeye Police Department, the Peoria Police Department and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. Significant assistance was provided by Special Operations Units (SWAT) from the Goodyear Police Department, Glendale Police Department, Peoria Police Department and the Phoenix Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Liz Barrick.

# # #