Valley law enforcement officers said they've put a big dent in a major drug operation, taking dozens of violent criminals off Phoenix streets in an investigation called Operation Southland.
"All of our suspects are connected to the violent crime street gangs responsible for trafficking PCP, crack cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana," said Department of Public Safety Director Robert Halliday. "Not only throughout Arizona - but, more specifically today, in the streets of Phoenix."
Operation Southland, a joint investigation between DPS and the Phoenix Police Department, resulted in 28 arrests Wednesday.
Investigators said they also confiscated 4.25 pounds of marijuana, 78 ounces of PCP, 6.6 grams of cocaine, 10 weapons (one stolen), 13 vehicles and about $40,872 in cash.
"I can tell you, this will go a long way in making the city of Phoenix, what I hope to be, one of the safest major cities in America," said Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia.
With the help of SWAT teams from Mesa, Gilbert, and Scottsdale police departments – along with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office – 15 search warrants were served in Phoenix and one in Avondale.
"It's not a one-man show anymore," explained Garcia. "It's not one organization doing the work anymore. It's really grown into a multi-jurisdictional policing aspect, because criminals have no boundaries."
In fact, the investigation began in December with an arrest in Pinal County.
"Their suspect told them he had purchased the PCP from up in south Phoenix," explained Phoenix police Sgt. Chas Clements.
He said there's strong evidence PCP is being manufactured in Los Angeles and then funneled into south Phoenix for distribution.
Clements said the investigation is ongoing and more arrests will be made.
The Phoenix Police Department provided the following names of those arrested and charges:
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