ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Three people were charged with heroin distribution Tuesday in what Anchorage police are calling the most significant drug bust this year.
Police arrested Enrique Tejada Blasio, 36, Marciela Rico-Perez, 28, and Juan Jose Rea Martinez, 30, at two locations in Anchorage after undercover police bought heroin from their operation over the course of several months.
''This isn't the biggest bust in terms of quantity, but in the value of the defendant,'' said Lt. Audie Holloway of the APD drug enforcement unit. Holloway said APD has been trying to catch Blasio for several years and suspects he has been orchestrating the sale of high quality Mexican heroin in Anchorage for up to seven years.
Detective Dave Koch, who coordinated the effort, estimated the street value of the heroin at $4,000. He said that at the time of the arrest, Martinez had 26 marble-sized balloons of heroin in his mouth and was trying to swallow them. Law enforcement agents also confiscated three vehicles and more than $23,000 in cash.
''This is a significant operation for us in terms of getting the suspect off the street,'' said Holloway, referring to Blasio. He said the three were probably dealing ''lots of heroin in small quantities every day.''
All three face numerous charges, including controlled substance felonies punishable by prison sentences of up to 20 years. Blasio is a legal permanent resident of the United States. Rico-Perez and Martinez are illegal aliens and could be deported if convicted. Also, if convicted, they would face arrest if they subsequently re-entered the country.
The bust was the result of a combined effort by Anchorage police, the Immigration and Naturalization Service and federal Drug Enforcement Agency, in addition to other state and federal law enforcement agencies.
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