PHOENIX, AZ (June 7, 2011) – A successful multi-agency investigation initiated by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office resulted today in the arrest and indictment of more than sixty (60) Arizona prison and jail gang members on multiple felony criminal charges including participating in a criminal street gang, promoting prison contraband, trafficking in stolen vehicles, narcotics trafficking, identity theft and witness tampering.
The investigation, known as “Operation Wolf Pack,” was launched nearly two years ago by the Sheriff’s Jail Intelligence Unit and ultimately involved the combined efforts of the Phoenix Police Department and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office as well as the Department of Public Safety and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
By utilizing innovative investigative techniques in the jails and prisons, law enforcement officials were able to infiltrate this formidable gang and foil multiple violent crimes, including conspiring to commit violent offenses against witnesses and police cooperators, selling drugs, extortion, money laundering, witness tampering, tax fraud, trafficking in stolen vehicles and personal identities, selling weapons, and promoting prison contraband such as cell phones, heroin and methamphetamine.
“I started this jail intelligence unit back in 1999, yet back then, I never could have imagined how much crime this unit would uncover and ultimately help to prevent,” Sheriff Joe Arpaio said.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery today had high praise for everyone involved in this case. “I commend our law enforcement partners for successfully disrupting the operations of a major criminal enterprise, from prison gang leaders all the way down to the street level associates. Thanks to superb interagency cooperation and diligent detective work, my office now has the evidence of the gang’s alleged criminal operations to permit us to hold these individuals accountable,” Montgomery said.
Acting Phoenix Police Chief Joseph Yahner underscored the success of the cooperative operation, noting, “A collaborative effort between various law enforcement agencies has resulted in multiple repeat offenders being identified and indicted in this investigation. Our goal is to continue to target the criminal element in our communities.”
According to Robert Halliday, Director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, “Operation Wolf Pack” is just the latest example of the specialized crime-fighting expertise his agency brings to joint law enforcement efforts throughout Arizona. “DPS GITTEM Detectives provide a valuable service every day across this state in a number of different scenarios all aiming for the same result, deter and dismantle violent gangs from operating in our communities,” Halliday remarked. “This very intricate investigation inside the Maricopa County jail system produced some very impressive results. DPS is proud to have been a part of this investigation,” he added.