Wednesday, May 23, 2012



Today's Milenio poll;
DPN 47%, AMLO 24%, JVM 24%, GQT 5%

Note: It has to be asked, where and how do all these state prison
inmates get the money for the drugs?

Chandler mother, sons lead police to major drug ring
Clues emerge from investigation of family
by Laurie Merrill - May. 23, 2012 06:16 AM
The Republic |

What ended as the multi-agency smashup of an international conspiracy
to sell millions of dollars of Mexican narcotics to Arizona prisoners
began as the simple probe of a Chandler mom and her sons, police say.

Ultimately, the investigation was called "Operation Family Tradition"
and the mother and her sons the "Lara-Valencia Syndicate."

At least 44 suspects were arrested on more than 300 drug- and gang-
related charges during two different sweeps, one of which was Friday.

Multiple indictments were handed down by the Arizona Attorney
General's Office.

In all, 32 pounds of heroin and 5 pounds of cocaine were seized with
a combined estimated street value of $1.7 million.

The drugs wound up on the streets of the East Valley as well as
Arizona prisons, Chandler police Detective Seth Tyler said. "It was
available to anyone with an appetite for it," he said Monday.

It all started more than a year ago, in early 2011, when the Chandler
police Narcotics Unit began investigating Grace Valencia and two of
her nine sons, Ricky and Jonathan, who resided on the 200 block of
South Dakota Street, Tyler said.

"Eight of the boys are involved" in the drug trade, Tyler said.
"Six are already in the state Department of Corrections."

Three of Valencia's sons -- Vincent Lara, 38; Angel Lara, 35; and
Daniel Lara, 31 -- are serving sentences ranging from 10 to 14 years
for a kidnapping conviction, according to reports.

Chandler police soon suspected that Valencia and her sons were part
of a larger organization with gang and possibly international ties.

First, they called in the Chandler police Gang Unit.
Next, they called Arizona Department of Public Safety State Gang Task
Force came on board.

DPS and Chandler investigators then learned the family and associates
bought drugs directly from Mexico, smuggled them into prison and sold
them to East Valley residents.

One prison visitor was apprehended trying to smuggle black tar heroin
inside a sock, officials said.

Street and prison gang members and illegal-drug trade criminals
comprised the organization, Tyler said.

As the enormity of what they were investigating was revealed, the
investigators decided they required help from organizations with more

They called on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Gang
Investigations Group, the DPS Highway Patrol, the Arizona Department
of Corrections Security Threat Group Unit and the state Attorney
General's Office to help with the investigation.
"The family was definitely part of the distribution of drugs," Tyler
said. "They were not small time. They were better organized. They
were getting the drugs from Mexico."

The Attorney General's Office has named Ricky Valencia as one of the
kingpins of the organization. He was charged with a total of 107

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