Police: Large auto theft organization bustedPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX -- Law enforcement officials from around Arizona have been investigating a car theft operation for the past 15 months.
As part of the operation, known as “Tin Man,” officers served search warrants at several locations in Phoenix, Tucson and Coolidge on Wednesday.
One of those locations is the Hendrix & Co. scrap metal business at 940 East Broadway Road in Phoenix.
"Our primary goal was to identify infiltrate and dismantle the Hendrix criminal syndicate," said DPS Director Robert Halliday.
Several Hendrix family members and Hendrix employees were taken into custody on Wednesday.
"The major case involves 12 defendants and roughly 55 counts," said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. "They range from charges of an organized criminal enterprise or running a criminal syndicate to operating a chop shop, to theft of means of transportation to trafficking in stolen property."
Other related cases involve more defendants and charges of check fraud, drug sales and possession of stolen property.
Officials said only 60 to 65 percent of stolen cars in Arizona are recovered. They said the rest end up in chop shops or scrap yards like the ones run by the Hendrix family.
"It's all about making money. It's all about a business," said Capt. Bruce Campbell with the Vehicle Theft Task Force. "They provided an environment where people that would steal cars could dispose of the vehicles."
Police believe several hundred stolen vehicles have been dismantled and disposed of at the Hendrix facility on Broadway Road in Phoenix.
This investigation took 15 months but officials said the alleged criminal syndicate had been operating for many years.
"It's safe to say that the Hendrix LLC dealt with millions of dollars not all of it illegal," said Capt. Campbell.
Officials said the task force also took down a group called, "El Gallo" or "The Rooster," accused of stealing heavy construction equipment.
No names have been released in these cases.
Twenty-four different law enforcement agencies and more than 400 people worked on the investigation.
So far, more than 12 people have been arrested and $2.9 million in assets seized.
More arrests and property seizures are expected.
Click here to read a statment from the Hendrix family
The Phoenix Police Department, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Arizona Automobile Theft Authority, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, the Arizona Attorney General's Office and the Pinal County Attorney's Office have been working on the case.
The Pima County Sheriff's Office, Pinal County Sheriff's Office, Glendale Police Department, Goodyear Police Department, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and Arizona Department of Weights and Measures has assisted in the operation.
Locations of Search Warrants:
1. 900 E. Broadway Road, Phoenix
2. 3100 S. 51st Avenue, Phoenix
3. 3200 S. 51st Avenue, Phoenix
4. 3000 W. Broadway Road, Phoenix
5. 100 W. Coolidge, Coolidge
6. 5200 N. Highway Drive, Tucson
(Locations 1-6 are business locations)
7. 1600 W. Lodge, Phoenix
8. 6400 W. Hughes, Phoenix
9. 3200 S. 47th Avenue, Phoenix
10. 6600 S. 66th Avenue, Phoenix
11. 300 W. Pasadena, Phoenix
12. 8100 W. Highland, Phoenix
13. 10,300 W. McDowell, Phoenix
14. 4000 W. Aerie, Tucson
(Locations 7 through 14 are residences)
1. Steve Hendrix, 27
2. Shane Hendrix Jr., 18
3. Cornelius Hendrix, 42
4. Charles Flowers, 51
5. Johnny Cornelius, 41
6. Merrick Way, 28
7. David Gamboa, 57
8. Thomas Nelson Ramirez, 37
9. Joe Carter, 47
10. Michael Wooster, 34
11. Milton Hendrix, 25
13. Nicole Ward, 20
14. Shane Hendrix, 41
15. Abel Soto, 34
16. Flory Mercedes Devian Samayoa, 25
17. Billy Barnett, 49
18. Florie Pineset,55