MCSO: 8 arrested in drug dealing operation - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

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MCSO: 8 arrested in drug dealing operation

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LITCHFIELD PARK, Ariz. -

Deputies say they arrested eight people who kidnapped, beat and robbed three men during a drug deal on March 24.

According to deputies, Emmanuel Acosta, 26, Moises Saldana-Gallegos, 30, and Searn Jerome Simmons, Jr., 43, had arranged to buy 180 pounds of marijuana from 40-year-old Edward Alvarez and his associates on March 24.

When they arrived, the three men were allegedly zip-tied, physically assaulted and thrown in vehicle trunks by men wearing police body armor, badges, ballistic helmet and a Phoenix PD patch during the crime.

Deputies say when Acosta was able to escape, Saldana-Gallegos and Simmons were released.

The suspects got away with between $60,000 to $95,000 during the drug rip, deputies say.  

When Alvarez was arrested at his Litchfield Park home on March 25, detectives say they found a large amount of cash hidden in a wall, several weapons and a variety of police identification.

Deputies say Alvarez's associates, Robert E. Varner, Brandon Jesus Varner, Victor Vasquez-Duarte, Johnny Ray Fernandez, David Anthony Ybarra, Frank Daniel Ybarra and Guadalupe Ortega, were all arrested by April 12.

Although, detectives believe one more member of the group is still on the loose and hasn't been named.

Maricopa County Sheriff's officials say Alvarez is a former member of the Sinaloa drug cartel.

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