CHANDLER and GILBERT, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) – The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said one of its SWAT teams took gunfire as it busted another black-market drug operation that was operating on Weedmaps.com.
With the help of the Tempe Police Department, MCSO executed simultaneous search warrants on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, at two homes – one in near Rural and Ray roads in Chandler, the other near Baseline and Cooper roads in Gilbert.
Deputies arrested Hyder Ahmed without incident at the Chandler home.
Detectives said they discovered vape cartridges, marijuana, cash and weapons.
Things went less smoothly for law enforcement at the Gilbert home.
According to MCSO, somebody inside fired three shots through the front door as SWAT was trying to break it down. One of those shots ricocheted off an outside wall and hit a deputy in the leg. That deputy was not injured "due to the [projectile's] loss of energy and speed after traveling through multiple mediums," MCSO said.
"SWAT was able to take a tactical position of cover and continued making [an] announcement for the suspect to exit the residence," according to MCSO.
The agency said suspect Charles Perry and his girlfriend, Jasmine Miller, did just that and were taken into custody.
MCSO said that while Hyder declined an interview and exercised his right to counsel, Perry admitted selling illegal marijuana and narcotics. Deputies also said he admitted firing a handgun when SWAT was outside his door.
MCSO says the evidence its detectives confiscated from the two homes includes high-grade marijuana, THC vape cartridges, THC edibles, hashish, shatter (concentrated THC), handguns, shotguns, a rifle, about $15,000 in cash, $10,000 in fake $100 bills and two vehicles.
Both Hyder and Perry were booked on suspicion of conspiracy to run an illegal enterprise, as well as drug charges. Perry also faces additional charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
On Sept. 12, MCSO arrested two men in connection with an illegal marijuana and THC vape cartridge operation in north Phoenix.
"They're (vape pens and e-cigarettes) so popular. It's a very easy way to ingest drugs in plain sight," Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said after that operation. "What better way for drug distributors to hide their product in the community and make it more difficult to investigate."
He also said similar arrests were likely.
"We can't wait for this to be an epidemic problem. We need to get in front of it," Penzone said. "This is an us problem, not just a law enforcement problem. It's a societal problem, and we're going to be aggressive and pursue and prosecute those who are doing it."
Before that operation, MCSO arrested 14 people in an undercover marijuana delivery sting in the Phoenix area. MCSO said most of the services it targeted were advertising on Weedmaps.