Drug Enforcement Administration


Douglas W. Coleman, Special Agent in Charge

December 20, 2011

Contact: Erica C. Curry

Phone Number: (602) 664-5609

DEA And Tempe Police Announce Results Of Operation Crank Call

Over 203 Arrests; 435 pounds of Methamphetamine; $7.8 Million dollars in cash; and multiple high-powered weapons linked to drug smuggling organization

PHOENIX, AZ. - DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman and Tempe Police Department Chief of Police Tom Ryff along with Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery announced today the culmination of a 15-month long investigation regarding an extensive trafficking cell associated with the Sinaloa Cartel headed by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada-Garcia.”

Tempe Police Detectives initiated the investigation after a Tempe Police Patrol Officer proactively contacted a subject upon observing an illegal drug transaction take place in his patrol area. Both subjects were arrested; one of the subjects was later identified as a delivery driver for a drug trafficking (DTO) that delivered methamphetamine to several customers in Tempe, as well as other customers residing in Maricopa County.

Based on the information from the Patrol Officer’s investigation, Detectives from the Tempe Police Special Investigations (SIB), Special Agents from the Phoenix Division DEA Strike Force Group 2, Prosecutors from Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and Attorney General Office initiated a joint undercover investigation into the DTO. Initially, Tempe Police detectives were able to identify local drug dealers in Tempe, Mesa, Phoenix, Chandler and Avondale. Tempe Police Detectives received information that the Phoenix DEA was investigating common elements of the DTO, and the joint investigation, dubbed “Operation Crank Call’ was initiated.

“Operation Crank Call” deals another significant blow to the drug trafficking organizations that continue to try and make the Phoenix Metropolitan area a primary hub of drug distribution, said DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge, Doug Coleman. By dismantling this group, DEA and our partners have taken large quantities of drugs, millions of dollars in drug trafficker assets, and powerful weapons off our streets. DEA and our partners will continue to do everything in our power to bring to justice those who try to poison our communities." 

The investigation resulted in the following:

  • 203 Arrests
  • 43 Search Warrants
  • 44 Firearms
  • 7.8 Million dollars in cash
  • 650 Pounds of Marijuana
  • 435 Pounds of Methamphetamine
  • 123 Pounds of Cocaine
  • 4.5 Pounds of Heroin

“The success of this operation is a direct result of law enforcement agencies working cooperatively toward a common goal. That goal is to rid our communities of organized crime,” said Tempe Chief of Police Tom Ryff. Chief Ryff added, “These are sophisticated, criminal enterprises. As Chief of Police I am committed to working in partnership with the community and other law enforcement agencies to curtail drug trafficking in the City of Tempe and throughout the valley.”

Assistance and support for the investigation were provided by the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, Phoenix Police Department, Avondale Police Department, and Gila River Police Department.

The DEA Phoenix OCDETF Strike Force brings a synergy to drug trafficking investigations by combining, side-by-side, the resources and expertise of all participating investigative agents and prosecutors. By coordinating their efforts in that way, OCDETF Strike Force has achieved great success against the major Mexican cartels.

For more information on DEA, visit http://www.dea.gov

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