South Phoenix Gangs Disrupted
|FBI Phoenix August 26, 2009|
PHOENIX, AZ—The FBI Violent Street Gang Task Force and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office announced today, August 26, 2009, the execution of 14 search warrants and the indictment of over 100 gang members. In January 2007, top area law enforcement officials announced a new targeting strategy for attacking violent street gangs in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Today’s operation shows a continued effort to lessen gang related activity in our communities.
In January 2009, Operation Tri Dent was initiated targeting South Phoenix street gangs. The defendants indicted in this matter are charged with drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, aggravated robbery, and conspiracy. This operation is the sixth takedown by the Violent Street Gang Task Force over the last 2 ½ years which has culminated in the arrest of over 450 gang members from various gang affiliations. The FBI’s Violent Street Gang Task Force is comprised of the Arizona Department of Corrections, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Mesa Police Department, Phoenix Police Department and the FBI. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service provided exceptional support to the Violent Street Gang Task Force in identifying certain aspects of drug trafficking by gang members.
In addition, today’s enforcement operation, arrest and search teams from ATF, Arizona Department of Corrections, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Buckeye Police Department, DEA, Glendale Police Department, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Mesa Police Department, Phoenix Police Department, and the USMS all contributed to this effort.
FBI Special Agent in Charge, Nathan Gray, Phoenix Division stated, “Gang activity in a community affects the quality of life of those who reside in that community. It is imperative for law enforcement to protect communities from violent gangs. The FBI’s Violent Street Gang Task Force has partnered with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to disrupt several South Phoenix gangs preying on its citizens. These efforts have and will continue to diminish gang related activity in the metro Phoenix area.”
Maricopa County Attorney, Andrew Thomas stated, “The combination of illegal drugs and street gangs destroys lives and neighborhoods. We thank the agencies involved for risking their lives to disrupt this drug operation. Our prosecutors will now continue these efforts to make sure this drug ring stays out of business”
Commander Dave Faulkner, Phoenix Police Department stated, “Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies here in the Valley have demonstrated over and over again that crime suppression efforts are more successful when we all work together. Operation Trident is demonstrative of these efforts.”
Arizona Department of Public Safety, Criminal Investigation Division Chief, David Denlinger stated, “Operation Tri Dent is aptly named, much like the trident, combined the forces of several agencies, to pierce and disrupt this criminal organization. This operation has been yet another in a continuation of successes by the involved agencies, in our collective efforts to keep our state and communities safe.”
Today’s enforcement action is another excellent example of how effective coordination of local, state, and federal law enforcement resources can disrupt violent street gangs and reduce the potential for violent gang activity. The law enforcement community will continue to move forward and target those gangs who have a strong hold on particular communities in the Valley.
An indictment is not evidence of guilt. All persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.