Operation Snake Eyes leads to arrest of 51 known gang members in Phoenix

Sep 26, 2020, 12:20 PM | Updated: Sep 27, 2020, 1:22 pm
(U.S. Department of Justice photo)...
(U.S. Department of Justice photo)
(U.S. Department of Justice photo)

PHOENIX — A police initiative targeting crime spikes in the metro Phoenix area resulted in the arrest of 140 fugitives, including 51 known gang members.

The initiative known as Operation Snake Eyes lasted from Aug. 10 to Sept. 17 and involved multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Phoenix, Glendale, Mesa and Tempe police departments.

“Police departments in the Valley have noticed an uptick in gang presence, shootings and homicides,” U.S. Marshal for the Discrict of Arizona David Gonzales told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“Operation Snake Eyes was an enforcement initiative to arrest some of the most violent gang persons committing a lot of crimes in certain communities.”

The operation also seized 131 firearms, $145,831 in cash and more than 3,000 counterfeit Fentanyl pills.

“In a six-week enforcement initiative, we targeted who we believe were the worst of the worst individuals,” Gonzales said.

Phoenix Police Chief Jerry Williams praised the work of law enforcement during the initiative.

“Investigations like these bring so many partners together to address common crime trends in each of our cities,” Williams said.

Crime spikes during the coronavirus pandemic were a catalyst for the operation. Gonzales explained that officer displacement may have been a cause.

“Police officers are being used for demonstrations and protest duty and that leaves some neighborhoods short of police officers to investigate these crimes,” he said.

According to a press release, Operation Snake Eyes focused on three main areas: fugitive investigations, targeted firearm and drug investigations and proactive street investigations.

Arizona DPS, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the United States Attorney’s Office also helped to conduct the joint investigation.

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Operation Snake Eyes leads to arrest of 51 known gang members in Phoenix