Pima County sheriff releases Guerena search warrant documents

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Pima County Sheriff's Department has been slow to release information on last month's deadly SWAT raid that killed former marine Jose Guerena. They've said doing so would compromise the 20-month investigation and put the life of their informant in danger.

Thursday they released hundreds of pages of search warrant documents, with a few lines redacted, but giving a much clearer picture of what led authorities to the Guerena home.

But a few lines are redacted in the hundreds of pages of search warrant documents released Thursday, giving a much clearer picture of what led authorities to Guerena's home.

The controversy over the deadly SWAT raid on 7180 South Redwater began in the days after Jose Guerena was killed while holding an assault rifle with the safety on.

His widow, Vanessa said they didn't know the men at the front door were cops. She said Jose was not a drug dealer and on May 5 he was just defending his family from what they thought was a home invasion.

New documents lay out the reasons the SWAT team was there.

It is the result of a lengthy drug dealing and money laundering investigation into several people, many of them members of the same family.  The primary suspect was Jose Guerena's brother Alejandro.

Jose's name came to light when a deputy pulled over a pickup he was riding in and found large commercial rolls of plastic wrap, commonly used to package marijuana to be dealt.

According to the documents, Jose's home was under surveillance earlier this year, and when people there spotted the law enforcement vehicle they began following it, and even ran the license plate through the motor vehicle division.

At a yearly salary of $41,000, Guerena owned a $105,000 home and six vehicles worth another $150,000. Other suspects in the investigation were seen at times driving Guerena's vehicles.

In 2009 Guerena was present in a home where two marijuana dealers were busted and was reportedly uncooperative.

That year he was also arrested in Pinal County on drug and weapons charges, though the charges were later dropped.

In the search of the four homes, authorities found many guns, ammo and bullet-proof vests, but no significant amounts of drugs and so far, no arrests.

The lawyer for the Guerena family, Chris Schillpi says he's happy the sheriff's department released the search warrants, that's what they were fighting for.