ELOY, Ariz. -- Pinal County authorities have busted a drug distribution ring that they say used truck washes along Interstate 10 between Eloy and Toltec.
"Operation Big Rig" began when detectives with the Pinal County Sheriff's Office Narcotics Task Force received a tip that dealers were selling substantial amounts of methamphetamine and cocaine to truck drivers and other buyers.
During the month-long investigation, detectives used an undercover big rig and posed as buyers at several stops, including Flash Truck Polishing located at 3200 N. Chesley St. in Toltec and Show Time Truck Polishing located at 526 S. Sunshine Blvd. in Eloy.
Detectives with the task force and Eloy Police Department served search warrants at Flash Truck Polishing and three homes in Eloy and Toltec on June 24-26.
Authorities arrested 15 people and seized 24.8 grams of methamphetamine and 9.8 grams of cocaine, along with eight vehicles, one rifle and $26,000 cash.
Eight people were arrested and charged in the drug distribution ring. They have been identified as Hector Soto-Quintero, 44, of Eloy, co-owner of Flash Truck Polishing; Rafael Rios, 51, of Toltec, co-owner of Flash Truck Polishing; Kelly Bahme, 41, of Eloy, owner of Show Time Truck Polishing; Manuel Chacon, 40, of Eloy; Sammie Johnson, 23, of Arizona City; Ricardo Sodari, 37, of Arizona City; Raquel Valenzuela, 34, of Arizona City; and Ignacio Velasquez, 27, of Eloy.
The suspects are facing charges of possession of dangerous drug, possession of a dangerous drug for sale, transportation of dangerous drug, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Four people were arrested for being in the country illegally and three people were arrested for other outstanding warrants.
"This case is a prime example of why this task force was formed," Sheriff Paul Babeu said. "Narcotics detectives operate in the shadows, building cases that ultimately lead to putting dangerous criminals and drug pushers like those identified in Operation Big Rig behind bars."