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December 21, 2014

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Record drug seizures netted the past year

Drug seizures have kept local law enforcement agencies busy. On Wednesday, Sun reporter Kyle Hansen reported the Nye County sheriff’s office discovered a large marijuana grow house in Pahrump. During the past year, meth, cocaine, heroin and marijuana worth millions of dollars on the streets have been confiscated in raids and street arrests in Clark County. Here’s a look at some of those notable events:

    • Medical Marijuana
      Photo by Steve Marcus

      Sept. 8 — Raids of several Las Vegas marijuana dispensaries

      Police and federal agents raided several locations in an investigation of medical marijuana clinics in and around Las Vegas.

      It is illegal to sell medical marijuana in Nevada and marijuana-dispensary businesses are not recognized under Nevada’s Medical Marijuana Act. Medical marijuana patients and caregivers in the state must grow their plants in amounts not exceeding state laws.

      On Jan. 6, 12 people were arrested in connection with marijuana sales at the clinics. Most accepted plea bargains to settle their charges.

    • Heroin
      /Metro Police

      Nov. 6 — Heroin seized at McCarran

      Two men were arrested at McCarran International Airport after seizing more than 12 pounds of black-tar heroin.

      Detectives responded to reports of suspicious baggage, which contained bundles of an unknown substance. One of the bags had 7 pounds of heroin while another contained 5.6 pounds with a total street value of $1.05 million. The drugs were bound for Indianapolis on a flight from Las Vegas with a layover in a Chicago, police said.

      Jose Villarreal-Gazaviz, 31, of Nayarit, Mexico, and Jessie Gallegos, 47, of Phoenix face federal charges of distributing heroin and conspiracy to distribute.

    • Drugs
      /Aida Ahmed/Las Vegas Sun

      July 14 — Drug Ring Bust

      Authorities cracked a drug ring in Las Vegas that lead to 14 arrests and netted methamphetamine and heroin with an estimated street value of $5.7 million.

      A task force of local and federal investigators confiscated the drugs during a raid of several homes that were part of a drug ring with headquarters in Mexico. Officials said they seized 208 pounds of meth, 4.3 pounds of heroin, $280,000 in cash, nine vehicles, five handguns and one shotgun.

      Individuals arrested include Jorge Loza, 26; Armando Lara, 37; Sergio Vieyra-Medrano, 37; Oscar Cavadas, 26; Felix Roman, 27; Mayra Torres, 29; Salvador Garibo, 27; Cecilia Salgado, 55; Alejandro Gomez, 31; Ivan Torres, 44; and Jose Lopez, 20. Also charged were Francisco Cruzvizcara, Dagoberto Huerta-Mata and Lydia Barrelleza. No ages for them were listed.

      Officials believe most of the suspects are members of a Mexican drug cartel.

    • Pahrump Marijuana Operations
      /Nye County Sheriff"s Office

      Aug. 8 — Marijuana grow houses discovered in Pahrump

      Nye County deputies discovered two marijuana grow houses in Pahrump this month. They estimated its street value at $5.7 million.

      The first house at 2010 S. Manzanita Ave. was searched after authorities received an anonymous tip. Inside, authorities found 243 marijuana plants in various stages of growth, weighing about 160 pounds.

      Searching for the alleged operator of the grow house, Amos John Cavallo, deputies searched 2440 Turtle St. and discovered a larger grow operation. It contained 1,726 marijuana plants in various stages of growth and processed marijuana. Deputies also seized 4 grams of meth and prescription medication at the home, officials said.

      Cavallo was arrested Aug. 10 and faces charges of trafficking marijuana and methamphetamine, drug possession and theft of a public utility.

    • Drug bust
      Photo by Aida Ahmed

      Aug. 10 — Cocaine Seizure on Interstate 15

      Southern Nevada Interdiction Task Force stopped a tractor-trailer on Interstate 15 carrying 452 pounds of cocaine.

      Gaston Danjou, the driver of the truck, provided authorities with driver log information, but they noticed inconsistencies while questioning him. They found 10 duffel bags in the truck’s sleeper area containing cocaine with a street value estimated at $16.4 million.

      When the event was first reported, officials from the Southern Nevada Interdiction Task Force claimed it was the “largest cocaine seizure in Nevada history.” However newspaper clippings verify a larger seizure took place on Jan. 31, 1993, when 851 pounds of cocaine was found by Metro Police on a bus on Interstate 15.

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    1. What a waste of taxpayer funds and law enforcement resources.