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Arrests made in Sunnyside

Several drug and immigration related arrests were made in Sunnyside last week as part of a multi-jurisdictional raid that led to the arrest of 15 people throughout Yakima County.

According to Mel Rodriguez, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) supervisor based out of the Yakima office, 11 search warrants were issued and 15 arrests made throughout the Valley. One of the raids reportedly occurred early Tuesday, May 10, at the Eakin's trailer court on Yakima Valley Highway.

The combined effort was part of "Operation Block Watch," a joint endeavor between the DEA and United States Immigration and Custom Enforcement, formerly known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

According to Rodriguez, besides the immigration violations, the suspects were arrested for making and distributing methamphetamine.

The operation resulted in the seizure of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, weapons and money.

DEA Special Agent in charge of "Operation Block Watch," Rodney G. Benson, said methamphetamine has continued to plague the Yakima Valley, ruining lives and putting the community at risk.

"Operation Block Watch targeted a major methamphetamine distribution organization which, for the past few years, has callously pushed this poison for personal gain," said Benson.

The 15 arrested will be charged in federal court by the United States Attorney's Office in Eastern Washington. They are facing drug, weapon and immigration violations. Many of the individuals are repeat offenders and face stiffer penalties if convicted.

Besides DEA and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, local jurisdictions, including the Yakima, Union Gap, Goldendale and Sunnyside police departments, assisted with the raids, as did the Yakima and Kittitas County Sheriff's Offices. Also assisting was the United States Marshal's Service, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and drug task force agencies in Yakima County.

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