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Arizona Drug Ring Busted

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Arizona Drug Ring Busted

Arizona Drug Ring Busted

PHOENIX -- Law enforcement agencies in Arizona say they have shut down a drug ring they believe has links to the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico.

The six-month investigation, which was led by the Tempe Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration, yielded three tons of marijuana, 30 pounds of methamphetamine, $2.4 million in cash and 20 arrests throughout the state.

"We cut the head of the snake off," said Lt. Noah Johnson of the Tempe Police Department's Special Investigations Bureau. "We can go out all day and arrest people with ounces of marijuana or a sixteenth of an ounce of methamphetamine in their pocket. Or we can go out and do an investigation like this for six months and affect thousands of people."

Law enforcement officials also seized several firearms, vehicles, and a Cessna aircraft they believe was designed to transport drugs and cash across the border.

The investigation began with a confidential tip about a Tempe residence as a possible drop house for drugs, which law enforcement say led them to uncover the alleged trafficking ring.

The police allege the organization delivered drugs locally, as well as New York, Alabama and California. They dubbed the investigation "Operation Nayarit Stampede."

Jude Joffe-Block was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2010 to 2017.