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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."
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.