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Police take down six homes in Valley-wide drug bust

Home at Birch Court and Bruce Avenue in Gilbert, Ariz., with 20 bales of seized marijuana. (Holliday Moore/KTAR Photo)

PHOENIX -- Valley police have arrested more than a dozen people in a drug sweep over the past 48 hours.

Wednesday morning officers served search warrants to four homes -- three in Gilbert, one in Chandler. On Tuesday, Phoenix police served warrants to two homes in the West Valley.

A neighbor who only identified himself as Chris, watched as officers swarmed the rundown home.

"They finally took down our neighborhood little druggie house," he said.

He and others living in a neighborhood near downtown Gilbert said it was always a problem, but over the past two years, it's escalated.

"It was like one of those zombie movies," he explained. "People were walking back and forth down the street. We were finding needles on the sidewalks. It was just a bad element."

Neighbors complained and Gilbert Police Sgt. Jesse Sanger said that kicked off a seven-month-long investigation.

"We listened to the citizens who kept telling us, 'Hey, there's drugs coming and going, stolen property coming and going. We're seeing it. We're sick of it,'" Sanger said.

The sting connected dots between six houses used as alleged distribution sites for methamphetamine, marijuana, heroin and stolen guns, as well as other stolen property, said Sanger.

The second home was a cul-de-sac away from the drug house on Bruce Avenue. A child's Spider-Man curtain in a bedroom window, a large speed boat and newer pickup truck in the driveway made it look less suspicious.

"Inside, officers hauled out 20 bales of marijuana, more stolen guns, and stolen property," confirmed Sanger.

Similar scenarios played out as search warrants were served to a third home in Gilbert, near Elliot and Gilbert roads, and an apartment in Chandler near Arizona Avenue and Ray Road.

All four busts happened simultaneously to avoid tipping off suspects inside each of the homes early Wednesday.

The day before, Phoenix police served search warrants at two West Valley homes along the 67th Avenue corridor. Both are believed to be connected to the East Valley drug ring.

As of Wednesday afternoon, police arrested 14 people and are questioning several more with expectations of making more arrests.

About the Author

Holliday Moore is a Phoenix native with more than 25 years experience in the local and national broadcast and media industry. A graduate of ASU's journalism program, with a second major in Marketing & Management, she considers herself one of the lucky few to be doing exactly what she loves, writing and producing news.

In 2012, she won a prestigious Edward R. Murrow award for a light feature radio story on snakes. For the record, snakes do not say much! She is also honored to be one of two nominees this year for a Mark Twain Award involving her series on Arizona drowning cases.

Among her career accomplishments, Moore has taken home a television Emmy for Cultural Issues Reporting on the Navajo/Hopi Partition Land Act. She has also won numerous Emmy nominations for hard, soft and even sports reporting. However, Moore considers her highest achievement was on the day she received the prestigious Walter Cronkite Political Excellence Award for developing the Scripps Television stations' Democracy 2000 & 2002 program. Bob Morford, ABC 15's News Director at the time, asked Moore to head the project with one wish, "Try not to lose ratings," he said. "We not only did not lose ratings," says Moore, "We actually improved ratings between the coveted 5:00-6:30pm news block."

"She created, designed and executed the award winning program," recalls Morford, "Her efforts brought a great deal of notice and credit to our station."

Moore loves a challenge and is an adrenaline junky by nature. She ran 400 hurdles in college and more recently half marathons to raise thousands of dollars for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. She works part time for KTAR Radio while volunteering for her young son's elementary school and running a freelance media services business.


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