Pubdate: Tue, 11 Jan 2005
Source: Nogales International (AZ)
Copyright: 2005 Nogales International
Author: George G. McQueen


When an unmarked white panel van occupied by heavily armed officers dressed 
in camouflage enter a house just off a state highway, passersby might 
wonder what is happing. More so when they are escorted by a local law 
enforcement special operations team.

When it is said by neighbors and others that arrests were made and property 
was seized, concerned citizens may have some questions.

But when you find out it was an operation coordinated by the Drug 
Enforcement Administration (DEA), getting answers is complicated if not 

According to the Nogales Police Department, two federal search warrants 
were served by the DEA on Monday, Dec. 20 at 10:30 a.m. The activity also 
was reported to the Nogales International by motorists, including the 
driver of the newspaper's delivery van, nearby neighbors and others.

Still, several attempts to gain information from Tony Ryan a special agent 
in charge in Tucson, and Ramona Sanchez, the public information officer in 
Phoenix were stymied because, they said, under rules established by 
Department of Justice does they are not allowed to talk about cases still 
under investigation.

Until formal records are reviewed, the Nogales International is not 
revealing the names of those reportedly arrested or the charges. In an 
attempt to gain further details of the case, the newspaper has enlisted the 
help of the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona, Inc. through their legal 
counsel Perkins, Coie, Brown and Bain of Phoenix.

The minimal information obtained thanks to local lawmen, is that two 
houses, one on the1800 block of Sierra Del Sol and the other1400 block of 
E. Patagonia Rd., were raided by Nogales Police's Special Response Team 
that is specially trained for high risk operations, much like a SWAT team.

Assisting the DEA in this operation they "secured the homes in a matter of 
minutes," said Lt. Eddie Rosas, spokesman for the Nogales Police Department.

And after a reporter for the Nogales International made calls bi-weekly for 
four weeks to Ryan and Sanchez still no further information would be released.

One might be assured that such efficient coordination exists between 
federal and local law enforcement, but finding out what crimes they are 
fighting and who the criminals are is a different story.
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