16 Eastside Crips arrested for suspected homicides, racketeering

A multi-agency investigation into suspected racketeering activities of the Eastside Crips (ESC) in Tucson resulted in the arrest of 16 members and associates of the criminal street gang. The subjects of the investigation are an organized group of individuals suspected of Robert Halliday,, and committing violent crimes on behalf of the Eastside Crips leadership.

According to authorities, the demographic makeup of the “ESC” is unique in its multi-cultural membership. The gang is loosely structured with several sub-entities and shifting leadership roles over time due to incarceration of several of the original leading members.

The investigation began based on information gathered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Tucson Police Department (TPD) and the Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZ DPS) Gang Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission (GIITEM) and is being prosecuted by the Criminal Division of the Arizona Attorney General’s Office in Tucson.

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne said, “Working alongside our state and federal partners to arrest and prosecute criminals is a priority for the Attorney General’s Office. The AGO specializes in assisting in complex multi-agency investigations. We are pleased to be part of this successful operation.”

On Wednesday morning, before dawn a contingent of more than 200 local, state, and federal law enforcement officials executed search warrants at 9 Tucson locations and served 16 arrest warrants around Tucson. All warrants and arrests were executed safely and without incident.

Roberto Villaseñor, the Tucson Police Department Chief of Police, stated, “The joint operation is the culmination of nearly a year of investigation into an ongoing criminal syndicate based and operating in Tucson, but conducting criminal misconduct as far away as Florida and New York”.  The Chief continued, “The cooperation between the Tucson Police Department, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office and U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is a blueprint of how local, state and federal agencies can and do coordinate efforts to improve quality of life in a community. The elimination of this gang is removing several violent felons from the streets of Tucson, and crippling a criminal syndicate that has connections to numerous narcotic and money laundering violations, as well as several shootings and homicides”.

Robert Halliday, the Director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, stated, “The Arizona Department of Public Safety’s GITTEM Detectives worked very hard on this case gathering intelligence that culminated in today’s arrests. We are proud to have played a part in dismantling this multi-state drug smuggling operation and placing a lot of these violent criminals behind bars. Hopefully Tucson is safer as a result.”

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