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Phoenix police arrest woman in beer-trafficking ring

Beer, cash and other items seized during an April 17 arrest of Irene Gonzalez are shown. (Photo courtesy of the Phoenix Police Department)

PHOENIX -- Phoenix police have arrested a woman who has been buying stolen beer and making a profit by selling it to others.

Irene Gonzalez, 58, was arrested Thursday and booked on four counts of trafficking in stolen property and one count of liquor sales without a license.

A Feb. 25 arrest helped trace a beer-running ring to Gonzalez. On that day, Phoenix police arrested a suspect for shoplifting two 18-packs of beer from a Circle K convenience store. The suspect admitted to stealing the beer with the intent to sell to a person known as "Mama," who lives in an apartment complex on 2760 E. Wier Ave., Officer James Holmes said.

The suspect said there were several others who were taking stolen beer to "Mama."

Once detectives were able to trace the stolen beer to Gonzalez, Phoenix police began sending undercover detectives to her residence. Between Feb. 27 and March 28, undercover detectives sold a total of eight 30-packs of beer to Gonzalez for an average of $15 a case, Holmes said. He added that Circle K provided the cases to detectives for the investigation.

Police obtained a search warrant and went to Gonzalez's apartment on Thursday, finding 26 cases and several individual beers inside the home. They also confiscated $5,600 in cash.

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