TUCSON – Eighteen of 21 suspected members of a cocaine trafficking organization, including a Sheriff’s detention officer, were arrested after a 12-month investigation targeting drug activity in Sierra Vista and Bisbee, special agent Doug Coleman of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency said Wednesday.
Three suspects are still at large, Coleman said.
Of the 18 arrested, eight are Bisbee residents, five are from Tucson, two are Sierra Vista residents, two are Hereford residents and one lives in Douglas.
Tuesday, the DEA announced that Cochise County Sheriff’s Office Detention Officer Mario Serrano was among those arrested. Serrano resigned immediately from the Sheriff’s office, department spokewoman Carol Capas reported.
The year-long investigation dealt with a narcotic distribution organization that would import kilos of cocaine from Mexico, transport them covertly to locations in Tucson and then distribute the cocaine to street level dealers and end users throughout Bisbee and Sierra Vista. The charges include conspiracy to import, transport, sell and possess cocaine; money laundering; sale and transportation of a narcotic drug for sale; and use of a wire or electronic communication in a drug offense.
“Unfortunately, our surrounding communities are not immune to drug trafficking,” Coleman said. “DEA works closely with our state and local law enforcement partners throughout our counties in an effort to disrupt these drug trafficking rings who think they can peddle their poisons in our neighborhoods without facing justice.”
On June 3 and 4, 2013, simultaneous arrest and search warrants were executed on the suspects and houses in Tucson, Sierra Vista, Bisbee and Douglas were raided.
All defendants are tentatively scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 in Tucson at Pima County Superior Court.
The investigation was led by DEA with assistance from the Sierra Vista Police Department, Cochise County Sheriff’s Office, the Bisbee Police Department, U.S.Border Patrol, Homeland Security Investigations and the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Arizona Attorney General Josh Moser.
The charges are merely allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.
Those arrested include: Miguel Cota, Tucson, Sonia Chavez, Tucson, Jesus Armando Moroyoqui, Bisbee, Denise Moroyoqui, Tucson, Fabianna Mata, Bisbee, Manual Galindo, Tucson, Luis Cantu, Tucson, Jesus Armando Moroyoqui, Sr., Bisbee, Francisco Moroyoqui, Bisbee, Antonio Fierros, Hereford, Daniel Lopez, Bisbee, Melissa Jimenez, Bisbee, Juan Dorame, Bisbee, Mario Serrano, Bisbee, Nazariah Rashed, Sierra Vista, Ronald O. Thomas, Jr., Hereford, Eugene Hagele, Sierra Vista, Victor Manuel Laguna, Douglas.