Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Sept. 16-17

Sep 17, 2023, 5:18 PM

Downtown Phoenix skyline...

View of the downtown Phoenix, Arizona city skyline as seen from South Mountain Park, August 28, 2018. (Photo by Robyn Beck/Getty Images)

(Photo by Robyn Beck/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — An Arizona drug trafficking ring spanning multiple counties was shut down, a federal judge struck down two Arizona voting proof-of-citizenship laws and a major developer is expected to acquire a 1,800-acre site in the West Valley.

Here are some of the biggest stories that headlined the Arizona news cycle over the weekend.

Arizona drug trafficking ring spanning multiple counties shut down

Authorities have shut down a drug trafficking ring that was operation in multiple Arizona counties.

Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking detectives conducted an operation that yielded over 10,500 fentanyl pills, 81 pounds of methamphetamine, 2 pounds of fentanyl powder, a half-pound of cocaine and 17 pounds of marijuana.

The enterprise was working out of Yavapai and Maricopa counties, according to a press release Friday from the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.

Federal judge strikes down 2 Arizona voting proof-of-citizenship laws

A Wednesday court ruling could make it easier for Arizonans to register to vote. That’s because U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton struck down key elements of two Arizona laws that expanded requirements for voters to prove their citizenship status.

One of them, House Bill 2492, disallowed Arizonans from registering to vote without proof of citizenship. Former Gov. Doug Ducey wrote H.B. 2492 into law in March 2022.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division called those requirements “onerous.”

Major developer expected to acquire 1,800-acre vacant West Valley site

Scottsdale-based Harvard Investments Inc. could be poised to take over as the developer for the long-vacant King Ranch property in Goodyear.

This is a shift from previous plans since another developer, Crown West Realty, a subsidiary of New York-based Petrus Partners Ltd., was considering acquiring the site just two months ago, according to city documents in July.

A city of Goodyear spokesperson told the Business Journal that Crown West Realty is no longer the developer for King Ranch. Instead, they said that Harvard Investments is planning to form a new entity to acquire and develop the property.

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs, community leaders demand federal action for border security

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs, along with border community leaders, have partnered to call on the federal government to take immediate action to deliver resources to state border communities.

This comes as border crossings increase and Congress threatens a federal government shutdown.

“My administration has worked tirelessly to support border communities, stem the flow of drugs and human trafficking and keep our neighborhoods safe,” Hobbs said in a press release Thursday.

The Picklr, an indoor pickleball chain, plans to serve up expansion into Valley with six initial locations

A new-to-market pickleball chain is looking to get in on the action in the Valley.

The Picklr, a Kaysville, Utah-based company, is undergoing a large franchise expansion into new markets and dozens of locations. The Phoenix metro will play a key role in those plans as The Picklr is targeting up to 10 locations throughout the Valley.

In general, each location will between 23,000 to 27,000 square feet and have between eight and 12 pickleball courts per site. While no locations have yet been finalized, Scott Schubiger, chief growth officer of The Picklr, said the firm has two franchisees committed to bringing a total of six locations to the Valley. One of the franchisees will bring three locations to the East Valley while the other will cover the Scottsdale/Paradise Valley area.

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Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Sept. 16-17