The deputies of the Pinal County (Ariz.) Sheriff's Office must be extra vigilant when traveling into the rugged desert south of Interstate 8, following the ambush shooting of deputy Louis Puroll and the shooting deaths of two armed gumen with ties to a Mexican drug cartel this spring. Sgt. Matt Thomas, motor supervisor and assistant SWAT commander, speaks exclusively with POLICE Magazine about patroling this hostile territory, detaining illegals and the ramifications of his state's tough new immigration law. PHOTOS: View our gallery, "How Cartels Smuggle Narcotics Into Southern Arizona."
The Tucson (Ariz.) PD started its home invasion unit two years ago to curb paramilitary raids on drug houses by well-organized crews with military grade weapons. The crews were well trained and often posed as police officers. In an interview from Tucson PD headquarters on Tuesday, the unit's Sgt. Bob Jimenez discussed the unit's approach to enforcement and outlined two recent cases, including a shootout with two former Marines with an SKS rifle. View the "Tucson Home Invasions: The Missing Man" photo gallery of one of the cases.
With "Project Deliverance," federal agencies cooperating with local LE officers arrested more than 2,000 narcotics transporters and Mexican cartel associates in mid-June. The multi-jurisdictional operation also led to the seizure of $154 million and 74.1 tons of drugs, as well as the arrest of a high-priority target. These photos, which are courtesy of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), show some of the evidence seized in the drug trafficking operation.