TUCSON – Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), aided by investigators from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, arrested seven additional suspects Tuesday as authorities moved to dismantle a Tucson-based drug trafficking ring suspected of smuggling significant quantities of narcotics, including heroin and cocaine.
Tuesday’s arrests are the latest development in a nearly two-year investigation that resulted earlier this month in the indictment of 13 defendants by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. The defendants face a myriad of charges, including money laundering; possessing, manufacturing, and selling illegal drugs; weapons violations; child abuse, and public benefit fraud. The case is being prosecuted by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.
Among the Tucson residents taken into custody Tuesday was the organization’s alleged ringleader, Sean Player Dixon, 43. Also arrested were Ricky Manning Jr., 36; Jeneayi Manning Qualls, 34; Raymond Pro, 40; Makayla Bower, 23; Anthony Torres, 43 and; Jennifer Estrada, 39.
“Our collaboration with our federal and local law enforcement partners is the strongest it has ever been,” said Scott Brown, special agent in charge of HSI Phoenix. “By combining our resources, authorities, and intelligence, we’re determined to identify and dismantle these criminal organizations one by one.”
To date the probe has resulted in a total of 37 arrests, along with the seizure of more than 9 pounds of heroin, approximately 1 1⁄2 pounds of cocaine, more 74 pounds of marijuana, a half-pound of crack, eight vehicles, 13 firearms, and more than $280,000 in U.S. currency.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
In addition to HSI, DEA and the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, other agencies assisting with the case include the Tucson, South Tucson and Sahuarita police departments, and the U.S. Border Patrol.