Sunday, May 16, 2010

O'odham police bust coke-smuggling ring

Tohono O'odham police arrested nine tribal members and one other person Saturday in connection with a cocaine smuggling ring. Officials are calling it the largest drug enforcement operation in the Tohono O'odham Nation's history. The early Saturday morning sweep of seven homes in Sells marked the culmination of a five-month, multiagency investigation that was led by the Tohono O'odham Police Department, said U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle. It was the first time tribal police officers have executed federal warrants on the Tohono O'odham Nation, said Dennis Burke, U.S. attorney for Arizona. Tribal police recently completed training given by the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Bureau of Indian Affairs that certified officers to investigate and make arrests on federal charges, which are stiffer than tribal charges. Burke called it a watershed moment for drug enforcement on the Tohono O'odham Nation, which stretches across 75 miles of U.S.-Mexico border and is one of the busiest drug smuggling corridors in the country...more

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