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Tue, Oct. 15

ATF raids two area homes<BR>

ATF spokesman Carlos Baixauli, speaking from the shooting scene in Cave Creek, said officers raided one home in Prescott Valley – in the 5000 block of Roadrunner Drive – and another just outside the Chino Valley town limits, in the 2600 block of Yuma Drive.

Baixauli said that in Cave Creek, a suspect allegedly confronted the Glendale Tactical Unit when it arrived.

"They were confronted by an individual," he said. "The individual posed a threat to the tactical members and they shot him."

As of press time, the suspect was undergoing surgery in a Phoenix hospital, Baixauli said.

Tom Mangan, another ATF spokesman, said that agents detained four people at the Chino Valley site and arrested one in Prescott Valley.

He said agents arrested the Prescott Valley suspect on charges of violating federal firearms and narcotics laws. It is not clear if agents will charge the Chino Valley detainees, he said.

"During the extensive undercover operation, undercover agents infiltrated those locations," Mangan said. "They've purchased firearms, narcotics, and had conversations related to racketeering."

Baixauli said, "ATF special agents along with task force members conducted a two-year, state-wide undercover investigation targeting firearms trafficking, narcotics trafficking, bomb-making and murder for hire. Some of the targets of this investigation are outlaw motorcycle gang members who are engaged in organized criminal activities."

He said 500 law enforcement officers executed pre-dawn warrants across Arizona, including 40 search warrants and 36 arrest warrants.

State and local law enforcement agencies helped ATF agents in this operation, he said.

Some local authorities, however, reacted to the raids with surprise.

"Normally, when another agency, be it state, county or federal, comes into our jurisdiction, they notify us," said Prescott Valley Police Lt. Laura Molinaro. "However, at this point, I'm unaware of any notification."

Chino Valley Police Chief Pat Huntsman said that she, too, learned of the pre-dawn raids only after she arrived at work this morning. She, however, had no complaints.

"I think it's great," Huntsman said of the operation.

Many of the officers involved in the raids were from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, according to Prescott DPS Lt. Frank Lopez, who had high praise for the operation.

"A lot of planning and a lot of intelligence went into this," Lopez said. "It went off just as planned."

Lopez said the ATF used the Prescott DPS facility to stage the raid, and that officers involved had been preparing and carrying out the raids since early Mon-day.

The task force included ATF agents, Phoenix, Tempe, and Glendale police officers, DPS and the Drug Enforcement Administration, he said.

Participating in the raid this morning were ATF agents, the U.S. Attorney's Office, the U.S. Attorney General's Office, the U.S. Marshal's Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration, Tucson and Flagstaff police departments, the Pima County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Border Patrol.

Contact the reporter at

mburicadam@prescottaz.com

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