[A]nnouncing the arrest of eight suspects, including a former cartel member, in connection with a drug deal gone wrong for the buyers who ended up being kidnapped and beaten.
The ringleader of an international drug smuggling operation, Edward Alvarez, 40 (DOB
4-15-73), of Litchfield Park, was the first of the group to be arrested on March 25, 2013,
following the March 24, 2013 incident. Brothers Robert E. Varner, 20 (DOB 7-25-92),
and Brandon Jesus Varner, 19 (DOB 10-12-93), both of Tolleson, were the last two
arrests to date, which came on April 12, 2013.
Alvarez is a former Sinaloa Cartel member according to the Department of Justice.
On March 24th, three persons met with Alvarez’s group to purchase drugs only to find
out that they were victims of a drug rip in which they were being robbed of their cash.
Emmanuel Acosta, 26, Moises Saldana-Gallegos, 30, and Searn Jerome Simmons, Jr.,
43, had arranged to purchase 180 pounds of marijuana from Alvarez and his
associates. The victims are residents of Phoenix, El Mirage and Tampa, Florida,
respectfully. They were zip-tied, physically assaulted and thrown in vehicle trunks by
assailants wearing police body armor, badges, ballistic helmet and a Phoenix PD patch
during the crime. When Acosta managed to escape, the other two were released.
When Alvarez was arrested at his Litchfield Park home on North Almanza Drive,
Sheriff’s Detectives discovered large amounts of cash hidden in a wall, several
weapons, and an array of police badges and other law enforcement identifiers.
Sheriff’s Detectives believe that one more member of the Alvarez group who
participated in the crime is still at large and has yet to be named.
The Arizona victims are members of the West Valley gang known as Varrio Tolleson
Chicanos. Alvarez had celebrated the $60,000 to $95,000 haul by taking the rip crew
out for pizza and drinks.
The other suspects arrested are:
Victor Vasquez-Duarte (DOB 11-16-74)
Johnny Ray Fernandez (DOB 8-30-67)
David Anthony Ybarra (DOB 8-24-80)
Frank Daniel Ybarra (DOB 12-4-78)
Guadalupe Ortega (DOB 4-10-70)