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Updated Apr 18, 2013 - 2:37 pm

MCSO: Eight arrested after drug deal goes bad

Eight people were arrested last month in connection with a drug deal gone wrong, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said.

The suspects made arrangements to sell 180 pound of marijuana to three men. During the meeting, the buyers were robbed, beaten, zip-tied and tossed in the trunk of a car by men dressed as police.

"We seized several weapons, many police badges and other law enforcement identifiers," said Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. "So you got these dope peddlers trying to rip off their customers posing as police."

The alleged ringleader of the international drug smuggling operation, 40-year-old Edward Alvarez of Litchfield Park, was the first of the drug dealers to be arrested. He has been linked to the Sinaloa Drug Cartel by the Department of Justice.

When Alvarez was arrested, deputies found cash hidden in the wall, weapons and several police officer identifiers.

Brothers Robert E. Varner, 20, and Brandon Jesue Varner, 19, both from Tolleson were later arrested. MCSO believes there is at least one more suspect.

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About the Author


Sandra moved from the small border city of Yuma, Arizona to study Broadcast Journalism at Arizona State University in the late 90s. Since graduating, she's worked at several local TV stations including Univision, Fox 10 and 3TV.

Working at KTAR, has allowed her the opportunity to cover major national news events, including Presidential visits, the Tucson Tragedy and the Wallow fire.

When Sandra isn't covering breaking news or behind a microphone in the studio, she's probably at home with her best friend Mark and her two dogs, Lily and Lola.

Sandra enjoys cooking and admits to enjoying "really bad" reality T.V. She also enjoys spending quiet time at home with people she loves, playing a little poker and traveling.

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