DEA arrests 12 after drug seizures in west Phoenix

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To date, "Operation Smoke in Glass" has resulted in the seizure of 128 pounds of methamphetamine, 33 kilograms of cocaine and 10 pounds of heroin. Agents also seized close to $300,000 in U.S. currency. By Jennifer Thomas To date, "Operation Smoke in Glass" has resulted in the seizure of 128 pounds of methamphetamine, 33 kilograms of cocaine and 10 pounds of heroin. Agents also seized close to $300,000 in U.S. currency. By Jennifer Thomas
To date, "Operation Smoke in Glass" has resulted in the seizure of 128 pounds of methamphetamine, 33 kilograms of cocaine and 10 pounds of heroin. Agents also seized close to $300,000 in U.S. currency. By Jennifer Thomas To date, "Operation Smoke in Glass" has resulted in the seizure of 128 pounds of methamphetamine, 33 kilograms of cocaine and 10 pounds of heroin. Agents also seized close to $300,000 in U.S. currency. By Jennifer Thomas
To date, "Operation Smoke in Glass" has resulted in the seizure of 128 pounds of methamphetamine, 33 kilograms of cocaine and 10 pounds of heroin. Agents also seized close to $300,000 in U.S. currency. By Jennifer Thomas To date, "Operation Smoke in Glass" has resulted in the seizure of 128 pounds of methamphetamine, 33 kilograms of cocaine and 10 pounds of heroin. Agents also seized close to $300,000 in U.S. currency. By Jennifer Thomas
To date, "Operation Smoke in Glass" has resulted in the seizure of 128 pounds of methamphetamine, 33 kilograms of cocaine and 10 pounds of heroin. Agents also seized close to $300,000 in U.S. currency. By Jennifer Thomas To date, "Operation Smoke in Glass" has resulted in the seizure of 128 pounds of methamphetamine, 33 kilograms of cocaine and 10 pounds of heroin. Agents also seized close to $300,000 in U.S. currency. By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Authorities arrested a dozen people and seized drugs and cash following an eight-month investigation into a drug-trafficking organization in the Valley.

More than 50 agents and officers participated in Wednesday's operation, which included nine simultaneous search warrants on suspected stash houses.

"Operation Smoke in Glass" targeted a large-scale drug-trafficking organization linked to Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel, headed by Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. Drug Enforcement Administration officials said the organization has been active since 2009 smuggling large amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin from Mexicali and Sonoita, Mexico, up to Maricopa County.

Authorities said the organization routinely used backpackers to transport the drug loads across the Arizona/Mexico Border. The drugs were stored in various stash houses located in west Phoenix, including one in Laveen, then distributed to various locations in the West and Midwestern states.

The DEA and the Glendale Police Department Special Investigations Unit arrested 12 people on drug-related charges and additional arrests are anticipated. They also seized more than 222 pounds of drugs as part of the investigation.

To date, "Operation Smoke in Glass" has resulted in the seizure of 128 pounds of methamphetamine, 33 kilograms of cocaine and 10 pounds of heroin, with a total street value of more than $2.2 million. Agents also seized close to $300,000 in U.S. currency.

"DEA and our partners are committed to hitting traffickers who violate America's borders with coordinated, strategic investigations like the one we have announced today," said DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman. "In Arizona and across Southwest Border communities, DEA is determined to find them, shut down their operations and put them where they belong -- behind bars."

The investigative efforts in "Operation Smoke in Glass" were coordinated by the DEA Westside Task Force, comprised of the Glendale, Surprise, Buckeye and Peoria police departments and the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.  Significant assistance was provided by Special Operations Units (SWAT) from the Goodyear, Glendale, Peoria and Phoenix police departments.