19 arrested in Arizona's Operation Tin Man - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

19 arrested in Arizona's Operation Tin Man

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Steven Hendrix Steven Hendrix

After serving 14 search warrants Wednesday, Arizona authorities have arrested 19 people in connection to an auto theft and scrap metal criminal enterprise.

The investigation has been going on for 15 months and primarily involves Hendrix Salvage, which has salvage yards in Phoenix, Coolidge and Tucson.

Authorities say the business served as a front for the illegal sale of metal, scrapped from stolen cars. Several members of the criminal organization were also involved in the sale of drugs.

"They provided opportunities for people that steal cars to dispose of those vehicles," said DPS Capt. Bruce Campbell.

The searches were conducted on 14 salvage yards and residences. During the raids, five stolen manhole covers were located, four of which from the city of Avondale and one from the city of Coolidge. Two guns were seized, as well as a small amount of illegal drugs.

The suspects arrested were identified as: Steve Hendrix, Shane Hendrix Jr., CorneliusHendrix, Charles Flowers, Johnny Cornelius, Merrick Way, David Gamboa, ThomasNelson Ramirez, Joe Carter, Michael Wooster, Milton Hendrix, NicoleWard, Shane Hendrix, Abel Soto, Flory Mercedes, Devian Samayoa, Billy Barnett,and Florie Pineset.

The charges range from participating in a criminal syndicate, trafficking in stolen property, warrants, and drug charges.

Follow this story: Warrants served in Arizona auto theft investigation

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