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Narcotics
02/18/2020

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ICE HSI Phoenix BEST and local law enforcement disrupt hard narcotics smuggling attempt

ICE HSI Phoenix BEST and local law enforcement disrupt hard narcotics smuggling attempt
ICE HSI Phoenix BEST and local law enforcement disrupt hard narcotics smuggling attempt

PHOENIX, Ariz. - On Feb. 18, 2020, at approximately 1:30 p.m., special agents assigned to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) Phoenix Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST), along with the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) and U.S. Border Patrol – served two state search warrants at two Phoenix area residences. The locations included an apartment complex located near 99th Avenue and Camelback Road, and a residence near 43rd Avenue and Indian School Road.

Law enforcement officers seized $22,123 in U.S. currency, 6.2 pounds of heroin, 12.1 pounds of fentanyl pills, five weapons, 311 rounds of ammunition and two vehicles. Additionally, two suspects were arrested during a traffic stop prior to the warrant service. Julian Sepulveda-Virrueta, 28, of Phoenix, and Selina Luna, 21, of Phoenix were both booked into jail on multiple charges.

“This is an extraordinary example of the superb and effective collaboration between HSI BEST and DPS in targeting a Phoenix-based hard narcotics smuggler, and the unity of effort in protecting our communities from the irreversible harm of harsh drugs like heroin and fentanyl and dangerous weapons,” said Scott Brown, special agent in charge for HSI Phoenix.

Julian Sepulveda-Virrueta faces the following charges:

  • Possession of narcotics
  • Possession of narcotics for sale
  • Misconduct with a weapon – prohibited possessor
  • Misconduct with a weapon during a felony offense
  • Money laundering
  • Assisting a criminal syndicate

Charges against Selina Luna include:

  • Possession of narcotics
  • Possession of narcotics for sale
  • Money laundering
  • Assisting a criminal syndicate

The investigation began in November 2018, leading to a fentanyl seizure and five arrests. Information from that case then led law enforcement to Sepulveda-Virrueta and Luna.

“AZDPS is proud to be a part of this task force, along with our federal law enforcement partners, as we aim to deter and dismantle drug trafficking. Our hope is that with these seizures and arrests, valley neighborhoods are made safer,” said Lt. Colonel Ken Hunter of the AZDPS Criminal Investigations Division.

The primary mission of the HSI Phoenix BEST unit is to combat emerging and existing transnational criminal organizations by employing the full range of federal, state, local, tribal and international law enforcement authorities and resources in the fight to identify, investigate, disrupt and dismantle these organizations at every level of operation.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 02/27/2020