The Drug Enforcement Bureau is one of the largest sections of the County Attorney's Office, handling the vast majority of cases that involve the sale, production or transport of drugs in Maricopa County. The attorneys in this bureau work closely with local law enforcement, federal agencies and confidential informants to vigorously prosecute street-level dealers as well as top leaders of drug trafficking organizations.
Arizona's Criminal Code mandates severe penalties for drug offenses, with mandatory prison time for crimes that meet or exceed strict statutory thresholds for a wide range of substances including marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, prescription drugs and narcotics.
In addition to prosecuting traditional drug offenses, the DEB conducts large-scale drug and wire investigations which frequently result in multiple arrests and prosecutions. The bureau reviews more than 3,000 cases annually, with successful dispositions for well over half that number. Typically, just under 70% of the sentences secured by DEB prosecutors result in prison time for defendants, with an average sentence of 48 months.
Major drug crimes often involve additional serious offenses including homicide, armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes. Pursuing these cases requires specialized legal expertise and advanced investigatory techniques. These efforts result in the removal of large quantities of dangerous drugs from the community and the incarceration of violent criminals.