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TPD: Gang busted had “huge proclivity for violence”

9 arrests, 40,000 fentanyl pills seized
Posted at 6:51 PM, Feb 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-04 23:31:06-05

TUCSON, Ariz — It was a bust so big it covered two counties and took eight law enforcement agencies to pull it off.

Tucson Police, the FBI, and a long list of other agencies teamed up to take out what’s described as an especially violent gang, deeply involved in drug distribution.

TPD Chief Chad Kasmar says the arrests took out a truly dangerous gang.

”These individuals had no due regard for anyone's safety whether it be law enforcement or the community if you were in their way or you had something that they wanted to acquire.”

Assistant Chief John Strader says, “This group had a huge proclivity for violence. And that's why we took an all-hands-on approach to try to attack and dismantle the organization."

That dismantling led eight law enforcement organizations through a day of raids on 11 locations that snared 40 thousand fentanyl pills, 11 guns, and nine criminal suspects.

Steven Patterson is the FBI’s Assistant Special Agent in Charge for Tucson. He says, “Because this group had been involved in so many different activities. It really kind of set the stage for the use of the task force environment. Every organization state, local, federal, has different tools in their toolbox.”

Police and FBI Agents say that teamwork busted a hybrid gang, organized through social media and not concerned about colors or turf like more traditional gangs.

They’re not afraid to take on the police.

And they’re not afraid to kill, though police are not saying how many murders connect to the gang. But police say the way the busts got guns, dangerous drugs, and dangerous people off the streets should make the community safer.

Capt. Jimmy Wakefield leads TPD’s Central Investigations Division. He says, “There's no doubt in my mind with the thousands of hours this task force has put into this investigation. We've saved lives. We've prevented gun crime within this community. So I think our community members should breathe a sigh of relief.”