Monthlong investigation brings drug bust - East Valley Tribune: News

Monthlong investigation brings drug bust

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Posted: Friday, March 5, 2004 12:12 pm | Updated: 4:54 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

A monthlong investigation led to the arrest of two men suspected of selling large amounts of heroin and crack cocaine throughout Mesa and the East Valley, police said Friday.

"I think the arrests will make a significant dent in trafficking over here," said Mesa police Cmdr. Steve Toland. "These guys were coming out of Phoenix to deal here exclusively."

Ernesto Villegas-Dominguez, 21, of Phoenix was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of participating in a criminal syndicate, conspiracy to sell narcotics, misconduct involving weapons and possession of drug paraphernalia.

He is being held in Maricopa County's Madison Street Jail in Phoenix on $400,000 cash-only bail.

Benjamin Roman, 21, of Mesa, was arrested on suspicion of participating in a criminal syndicate and conspiracy to sell narcotics. He is being held on $250,000 cash-only bail.

Villegas-Dominguez admitted that he made between 40 and 50 drug transactions per day, Toland said.

The two were supplying street-level dealers and drug users, he said.

When Mesa and Phoenix officers conducted searches at the suspects’ residences, they found $9,000 in cash, five guns — including an SKS assault rifle — a quarter-pound of heroin worth more than $10,000 and approximately $2,500 worth of crack cocaine.

Also, four vehicles were seized, said Mesa police detective Tim Gaffney.

The monthlong investigation was dubbed Operation Special Delivery, Toland said.

"We were able to use some informants and a lot of surveillance," he said. "We watched them for a little over a month to establish their patterns, to see where they were going and coming out of."

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