FLORENCE, Ariz. – Narcotics detectives are calling it ‘Operation Big Rig,’ a month long investigation that targeted suspects dealing cocaine and methamphetamine using truck washes along Interstate 10 between Eloy and Toltec; and ended with 15 people arrested.
|Flash Truck Polishing pictured during PCNTF Operation Big Rig.|
The case began after detectives with the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Task Force received a tip dealers were selling substantial amounts of both drugs to truck drivers and other buyers.
Using an undercover big rig, detectives posed as buyers at several stops including Flash Truck Polishing located at 3200 N Chesley Street in Toltec and Show Time Truck Polishing located at 526 S Sunshine Blvd. in Eloy.
After building the case and identifying suspects in the drug ring during the month of June, detectives with the PCNTF and Eloy Police Department served four search warrants; one at Flash Truck Polishing, the others at three residential homes in Eloy and Toltec.
|Cash seized inside one of the suspect’s residence.|
Nine people were arrested at the truck wash, including the owners, Hector Soto-Quintero and Rafael Rios. Four of those arrested, as well as Soto-Quintero, were in the US illegally from Mexico.
A total of 24.8 g of Methamphetamine and 9.8 g of Cocaine were seized during the investigation, along with eight vehicles, one rifle and $26,000 cash.
Eight of the 15 arrested have been identified; four were turned over to US Border Patrol for processing, three others were arrested during searches for other warrants.
Kelly Bahme, 41, Eloy - Owner of Show Time Truck Polishing
Manuel Chacon, 40, Eloy
Sammie Johnson, 23, Arizona City
Rafael Rios, 51, Toltec - Co-Owner of Flash Truck Polishing
Ricardo Sodari, 37, Arizona City
Hector Soto-Quintero, 44, Eloy - Co-Owner of Flash Truck Polishing
Raquel Valenzuela, 34, Arizona City
Ignacio Velasquez, 27, Eloy
Suspects are facing the following charges: Possession of Dangerous Drug
, Possession of a Dangerous Drug for Sale
, Transportation of Dangerous Drug
, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
. “This case is a prime example of why this task force was formed,” Sheriff Paul Babeu said. “Narcotics detectives operate in the shadows, building cases that ultimately lead to putting dangerous criminals and drug pushers like those identified in Operation Big Rig behind bars.”