Eight suspected drug dealers, some of whom allegedly sold drugs out of legitimate businesses in the town of Parker, were arrested by the La Paz County Anti Drug and Racketeering Enforcement Task Force Wednesday.
The Task Force says it used informants and confidential sources to target dealers selling methamphetamine, cocaine and prescription drugs.
The arrests were made after the accumulation of more than 8 months of evidence-gathering and investigation, and were made with the assistance of several agencies including the Parker Police Department, Quartzsite Police Department, La Paz County Sheriff’s Department, CRIT Police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Arrested during the dealer roundup were Gabriel Carrillo (sales of Dangerous Drugs), Mario Bernal (sales of Dangerous Drugs), Estevan Reynaldo Valdez (sales of Dangerous Drugs), Lainey Willig (sales of Dangerous Drugs), Jesus Rodriguez (sales of Dangerous Drugs), Jose Lopez (sales of Narcotics), Jennifer Biggerstaff (sales of Dangerous Drugs/Narcotics) Jeff Larson (sales of Dangerous Drugs).
In a statement provided to Parker Live, the Task Force says:
“Unfortunately for our community some of the drugs sold in these investigations were done at legitimate businesses in the Town of Parker. Business owners need to be vigilant with regard to the misuse of their store fronts by their employees. The Task Force does not target businesses or home owners with the intent to seize or forfeit businesses and homes under Arizona’s racketeering and forfeiture laws. However all business and home owners need to know that the Task Force has and will use any legal means necessary to protect the residents of La Paz County from all criminal activity.”
The Task Force says further suspects are now wanted, with arrest warrants outstanding for them at this time. Local law enforcement are actively working to locate and take the alleged dealers into custody.
ADDITION: The Parker Area Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Arizona Small Business Development Center says it is currently putting together a Drug-Free Workplace Seminar for local Businesses with a focus on pre-employment drug screening, drug-free workplace policies, activity-detection and law enforcement reporting advice. More information next week.