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Drugs, guns, arrests netted in Mabton area

Neighborhoods up and down the Yakima Valley were cleaned up this past week during a joint operation known as "Street Sweeper," that led to the seizure of more than 12 pounds of illegal drugs and 21 arrests.

Results of the operation were announced this past Friday as a result of teamwork that involved 14 local, state and federal agencies.

Last week's house-to-house and neighborhood-to-neighborhood project found its biggest haul in the Mabton area. It was there at a home in the 800 block of Chase Road that officials found three pounds of meth, a half pound of cocaine, five pounds of marijuana, an ounce of heroin and six guns-two of them stolen.

At the Mabton area site, officials say they arrested Gilbert Samaniego and Esmeralda Cisneros, both from Sunnyside, on charges of possessing the illegal drugs with intent to deliver.

In addition, Samaniego was charged for felon in possession of a firearm, which is a federal offense. Because of the stolen firearms found at the scene, there is a possibility both may face federal charges.

Yakima County Superior Court records show that Samaniego and Cisneros were arraigned in Yakima County Superior Court last Tuesday, Oct. 23, and bail was set at $15,000 for each.

The Mabton-area location was the only Lower Valley site raided during the week-long Street Sweeper project.

The project was the culmination of preparation that lasted more than two weeks, based on complaints lodged by other property owners in those areas.

"We were targeting street level dealers," said one county official, who asked to remain anonymous because he is an undercover officer.

Of the haul at Mabton, he noted, "You typically don't get many drugs to seize from those locations, but in this situation users that we followed around took us to the location."

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