Chandler drug stings yield arrests, more than $270,000

by Laurie Merrill - Dec. 2, 2010 05:21 PM
The Arizona Republic

In three drug stings in November, the Chandler Police Department made 13 arrests and seized more than $270,000 from alleged buyers, according to police reports.

Thirteen accused dealers, some of whom are alleged drug syndicate members, attempted to buy a total of more than 600 pounds of pot in three separate stings Nov. 4, 8 and 18.

The marijuana deals were "reverse stings," when law enforcement is behind the attempted sale of the product, instead of trying to purchase it, according to the reports.

"The bottom line is we are catching serious criminals and getting them off the street," said Chandler Police Detective David Ramer.

All three marijuana deals took place in Phoenix and involved go-betweens, police surveillance and alleged drug dealers. Most of those arrested are illegal immigrants and many have extensive records, police said.

"The thing is, criminals don't adhere to city boundaries. This (illegal drugs) is not only a national problem but a Valley-wide problem," Ramer said. "If information takes us to Phoenix we are going to follow the bad guys and lock them up."

Though the department has great success with reversals, undercover Chandler Detective Carlos Ledesma was fatally shot in July when the alleged buyers turned the tables on the sellers and opened fire, police said. Two suspected drug dealers were killed, a third was injured, and two other Chandler officers were wounded.

Here are the November drug stings, according to police reports:

- On Nov. 4, Chandler police arrested four alleged "bad guys" after police surveillance revealed they were attempting to buy 300 pounds of marijuana for $470 a pound.

As marijuana bales were unloaded, and money counted, Chandler police arrested the four and confiscated the money as evidence, according to police reports.

They were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to possess and transport marijuana for sale, possession of marijuana for sale and money laundering.

- On Nov. 8, four men allegedly trying to purchase 100 pounds of marijuana for $49,000 were arrested on suspicion of money laundering, conspiracy, possession of marijuana with the intent to sell and possession of marijuana.

- Chandler police on Nov. 18 arrested four accused syndicate-affiliated members, three of whom are illegal immigrants with outstanding warrants. The suspects were attempting to buy 270 pounds of marijuana for $125,490.

They were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy, marijuana possession for sale, money laundering, and charges relating to a crime syndicate. ... z1715LaAuS