Stolen vehicles recovered in Arizona, New Mexico

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX (AP) -- Authorities have recovered 39 stolen vehicles in two undercover operations across Arizona and New Mexico and arrested 22 people in the case.

Arizona Department of Public Safety officials said Friday that two of the suspects arrested worked for a third-party motor vehicle office.

They say the combined value of the stolen vehicles is estimated at more than $2 million.

Weapons and drugs also were seized.

Law enforcement officers executed 12 search warrants Thursday in Albuquerque to gather additional evidence for the Arizona-based investigation.

They say a New Mexico-based criminal organization was responsible for stealing newer model General Motors vehicles, switching their vehicle identification numbers and selling the cars in Arizona.

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