News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 13, 2010
Contact: Special Agent Ramona Sanchez
Public Information Officer
(602) 664-5725

11 Arrested During Takedown of Tucson Meth and Marijuana Ring
Firearms, cash, vehicles, drugs seized in search of eight Tucson residences

AUG 13 -- TUCSON, Ariz. -- Eleven persons involved in methamphetamine and marijuana conspiracies were taken into custody yesterday following the execution of federal search warrants at multiple locations in Tucson.  Complaints were filed in Tucson federal court this afternoon charging the defendants with drug conspiracy and trafficking charges.

Over 50 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers executed search warrants on eight residences in Tucson, Ariz. Wednesday, arresting 10 men and one woman, and seizing guns, drugs, and cash.  During the search of the residences, 27 firearms were seized, a large amount of ammunition, 3 ½ pounds of methamphetamine, over 200 pounds of marijuana, ten vehicles, and approximately $10,000 in cash.

“This operation dealt a significant blow to a ruthless drug trafficking organization that has made Tucson a primary hub of drug distribution,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Elizabeth W. Kempshall.  “These arrests serve notice that DEA and our law enforcement partners will not tolerate the illegal trafficking of dangerous drugs and weapons in our communities.

“These arrests and seizures were the result of an extremely well-coordinated drug enforcement investigation that combined federal, state, and local law enforcement assets,” said U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke.  “This targeted enforcement effort is on the cutting edge of southwest border security enforcement.”

According to the complaint, Carlos Delgado-Sagaste, 29, of the Republic of Mexico, sold one pound of methamphetamine and two rifles on two occasions during the conspiracy, while the defendant Joseph Michael Carpena, 24, of Tucson, Ariz., was involved with Delgado-Sagaste in one of the transactions.

“This investigation is a case study in how federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are working together to target the criminal organizations running dangerous drugs through southern Arizona,” said Matt Allen, special agent in charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations.  “I am particularly proud of the work our partners in the Border Enforcement Security Task Force did in initiating this case and bringing these individuals to justice.”

The complaint charges the Delgado-Sagaste, Carpena, Victor Manuel Delgado-Espinoza, 29, and Brian Wade, 49, with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.  Seven other defendants face marijuana conspiracy and/or marijuana trafficking charges.

A conviction for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and a fine of up to $4,000,000 or both.  The marijuana conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of up to 40 years and a fine of up to $2,000,000 or both.       

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).   DEA and ICE assisted in the searches and arrests by the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Arizona Attorney General’s Office, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Tucson Police Department, Pima County Sheriff’s Office, Oro Valley Police Department, Sahuarita Police Department, and Marana Police Department.  The prosecution is being handled by James T. Lacey and Michelle K. Spaven, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Tucson.        

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