Criminal Investigations Bureau
Computer Crimes Unit
(About this Unit)
The Computer Crimes Unit is primarily a support unit for the other units within the Criminal Investigations Bureau. Members of this Unit spend the majority of their time on forensic examinations of digital media. However, these detectives also assume a proactive role in identifying and arresting suspects illegally possessing and transferring explicit images of children while taking illegal photographs out of circulation. Some case examples are as follows:
- One case involved a suspect who had a previous conviction for sexual conduct with a minor. After detectives discovered he was downloading explicit images of juveniles, the investigation revealed that he had custody of a minor child which was a violation of his probation. The subsequent forensic examination revealed he had possession of numerous images of unidentified juveniles. Charges that stemmed from this investigation will undoubtedly result in a lengthy prison sentence for the suspect, ensuring his inability to re-offend.
- A youth minister at a local church was identified as downloading explicit images of juveniles. The subsequent investigation by detectives led to the discovery of thousands of images and videos of children being sexually exploited. The suspect is currently awaiting sentencing on a number of counts of sexual exploitation.
- In yet another case, a registered sex offender was identified as downloading explicit images of juveniles. Thousands of images were discovered during the investigation. This suspect agreed to a plea deal involving a lengthy prison sentence.
These cases are just a few examples that show the tenacity of the detectives in the Computer Crimes Unit in pursuing those who victimize children and are often a threat to the safety of our community.
Criminal Intelligence Unit
In 2017, the Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIU) continued performing its role of gathering and sharing police related intelligence to members of the Department. In an effort to increase their information base, CIU detectives participated in several multi-agency assignments and task forces which included the East Valley Fusion Center, the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the National Operations Center. These details and assignments varied in length, from a few months to years. As are result of this participation, the Unit was able to facilitate the distribution of information across all levels of government.
Another function of CIU detectives is to investigate cases that do not fall under the purview of more traditional investigative units. One such case involved the discovery of a swastika that had been placed in the yard of a Jewish family over the holiday season. The family had built a menorah out of PVC pipe and placed it in their front yard. They awoke one morning to discover the religious symbol had been reconfigured in to the shape of a swastika. The event received air time on national news outlets. Over the course of several months the case was investigated and eventually led to the arrest of three juveniles and an adult who admitted to having committed the act as a prank. They said they hadn’t initially thought of the ramifications or the distress it would cause the family. The courts, with the consent of the family, decided probation and a unique mandatory history lesson that included speaking with a survivor of the Holocaust would best serve the parties involved.
The Asset Forfeiture Detective is also assigned to the Criminal Intelligence Unit. This year, in addition to the processing of current forfeiture requests, the Detective self-initiated an audit of cases dating back 29 years.
The CIU understands it is important to both establish and maintain productive working relationships with patrol officers. To help with this, the unit provided classes during the Annual Officer Training that included several topics related to homeland security and crime trends. In addition to the training, CIU met with new officers to explain the Unit’s responsibilities and solicit their help. Patrol officers play a crucial role with the gathering of the information needed to further the Department’s intelligence led policing efforts.
Financial Crimes Unit
Typically the Financial Crimes Unit (FCU) has a steady flow of cases throughout the year. Members of the Unit consistently carry a case load that exceeds most of the other units in CIB. The workload in 2017 proved to be consistent with previous years. Several cases investigated showed the Unit’s tenacity in pursuing those who victimize Chandler’s community member through fraud and other forms of deceit. In one case, two suspects who worked for the same company embezzled approximately $20,000 from their employer. The case was forwarded to the Financial Crimes Unit after the initial report was taken by Patrol. The subsequent lengthy and in-depth investigation by Unit detectives led to the arrest and prosecution of both suspects.
Numerous cases investigated by the Unit involved identity theft. One of the most notable cases involved a subject who possessed the necessary equipment to manufacture credit cards. The investigation led to the discovery of the equipment used by the suspect, as well as numerous other documents showing he was using the identities of others. The investigative work led to a successful prosecution that resulted in a lengthy prison sentence.
During the year, numerous cases were received by the Unit involving money stolen from individuals by fraudulent means. In several of these cases, detectives went the extra mile to quickly freeze bank accounts and obtain court orders to recover the victims’ money before it was used by the suspects. Approximately $75,000 was returned to the victims of these crimes. The added effort by detectives helped to ease the financial burden imposed on the victims. This will be a continuing investigative trend to improve customer service to Chandler’s citizens.
In addition to the investigations done by the Unit, the FCU detectives continued their efforts to educate the citizens on ways to prevent becoming victims of fraud, identity theft, and other financially motivated crimes. Detectives gave numerous presentations to various community groups throughout the year. Their efforts to educate the public will undoubtedly be essential in helping prevent some of the crimes commonly seen by this Unit.
Gang Enforcement Unit
(About this Unit)
The Gang Enforcement Unit (GEU) is charged with investigating gang-related crimes. In 2017, Unit detectives continued to be pro-active while on the streets, with a main focus on gang suppression. As such, detectives gathered intelligence to disseminate within the Department and through various interagency intelligence meetings – comprised of local, state and federal partners. In its crime fighting efforts this year, the Unit made 237 arrests with 68 of them being gang members. The GEU continued to investigate graffiti and, this year, made a significant arrest of a suspect who had tagged over 60 locations. Another highlight this year was the assignment of one of the Unit’s detectives to an undercover capacity. This detective participated in 113 undercover operations. He is highly sought out by other agencies, having established himself as an excellent undercover operative.
The GEU has established itself as the “go-to” unit for other units within the Criminal Investigation Bureau as well as patrol. GEU detectives work to assist anyone who asks for help. As a result, other enforcement accomplishments include:
- The arrest of a fugitive from Texas – wanted for child rape
- The arrest of two suspects for a home invasion/shooting
- The arrest of three suspects for three different shootings
- The arrest of three gang members for robbery
- The location of eleven stolen vehicles
- The location a dead body as provided by a source
- 57 warrant arrests
This year, the GEU added a secondary mission of targeting career criminals with a focus on follow-through with prosecution. Working directly with a newly formed Intelligence Led Prosecution Unit at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, Unit detectives identified and submitted cases on 30 career criminals.
An important aspect of the Unit is its community outreach and education efforts. The GEU continued its standing relationship with the Improving Chandler Area Neighborhoods (ICAN) organization. The Unit conducted presentations on gang-related issues at ICAN and at other venues. The GEU continued training new officers during their selective enforcement week and teaching veteran officers during a “pro-active patrol” class, taught both internally and to other agencies as well.
Human Trafficking & Vice Unit
(About this Unit)
The Chandler Police Department’s Human Trafficking Unit is comprised of a sergeant, four detectives and a shared investigative analyst. One detective is assigned to the FBI’s Greater Phoenix Area Human Trafficking Task Force. In 2017, the Human Trafficking Unit continued its mission to investigate and dismantle individuals and organizations that engage in sex trafficking, prostitution, child prostitution, luring, and pandering. This year, the unit had affected over sixty (60) felony arrests. Listed below are a few examples of outstanding work that was conducted by the Unit detectives in 2017.
- March 30, 2017 – Operation Super Jam (NCAA Final 4 Tournament): Multiple Valley, State and Federal agencies worked in a collaborative effort to target concerns of Human Trafficking. “Operation Super Jam” was created in an attempt to impact the flow of the solicitation of prostitutes and to discourage female and male escorts who engage in the illegal activity. The operation consisted of 45 detectives and agents who contacted every ad they could locate offering services as an escort. Also, agents posted their own undercover ads in an attempt to solicit subjects desiring these illegal services. Once a conversation with escorts or solicitors led to the suggestion of illegal activity, the contact was notified that they were, in fact, speaking with a law enforcement officer and that this type of activity was illegal. The most important component of this operation was the cataloging of telephone numbers. These numbers were provided to the CEASE Network who in turn stores the numbers for tracking purposes and to deter buyers from engaging in prostitution activities in the future.
- April 22, 2017 – Human Trafficking Symposium: The Chandler Police Department hosted the first annual symposium on Human Trafficking to help educate Chandler residents on the issue of human trafficking. Attendees were given a series of classes to educate them on what human trafficking is, what it looks like in our community, who is targeted and how to keep their loved ones safe.
- October 12-14, 2017 – Operation Cross Country XI: During these dates, the Human Trafficking Unit partnered with members of the Gilbert Police Department and participated in Operation Cross Country XI. This annual national operation, led by the FBI, attempts to locate, identify and rescue underage children who are being trafficked in the Phoenix metropolitan area. In all, 14 victims were contacted, identified and offered services with the following characteristics: All were 18 years old, several of which had just turned 18; one victim accepted immediate services and was transported to the Phoenix Dream Center and another will finish school through the Phoenix Dream Center as well as other counseling services; two victims were from the Los Angeles area and were given information about the Los Angeles Dream Center; several had visible physical injuries; one victim was a male. As a result of this operation, one pimp was arrested and booked and one pimp is still outstanding but the investigation is on-going.
- Human Trafficking Presentations: Because members of the Unit are experts in their field, they are frequently called upon to conduct human trafficking training to other law enforcement agencies and other non-governmental organizations. This year, presentations were given to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center, the Chandler Police Department’s Citizens and Guardians Academies, the Epiphany Church, and the Department’s Advanced Officer Training (AOT).
In 2017, the Narcotics Unit continued to dedicate itself to the mission of disrupting and dismantling narcotic organizations through criminal prosecution. This year, the Unit shifted its focus to address street level narcotic sales in order to have a direct impact on the Chandler community. The goal behind this approach was to identify complex drug trafficking organizations that are supplying the street level dealers.
Another focus of the Unit was to re-establish a strong working relationship with the patrol division of the Police Department. The Unit recognizes that patrol officers provide valuable information from the contacts that they make with the public on a daily basis. As a result of these relationships, detectives have been able to develop a number of quality investigations that have led to significant seizures and prosecution of a number of suspects.
This year, the Narcotics Unit continued to partner with federal organizations by having a detective assigned to a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Task Force. The collaborative effort between the Chandler Police Department and federal partners allows for access to resources and prosecution through the federal court system.
The following cases highlight the some of the successes that come from the hard work and dedication of the Narcotics detectives:
- In April 2017, the Unit executed a search warrant in reference to ongoing heroin sales in the area of Arizona Avenue and Pecos Road. The warrant yielded two pounds of heroin, a large quantity of cash and four arrests for various charges including possession of narcotic drugs for sale.
- In May 2017, The Unit executed a search warrant in reference to an ongoing methamphetamine sales case. Detectives were able to conduct multiple purchases of methamphetamine from a suspect and identify an apartment in Mesa where the suspect resided. Detectives executed a search warrant at this apartment and located one pound of methamphetamine, guns, and large amount of cash. A suspect was arrested and later sentenced to five years in prison.
- In May 2017, the Unit conducted a narcotics operation near Ray Road and Priest Drive in West Chandler. The operation was in regards to a subject transporting and selling a large quantity of cocaine. During the operation, detectives seized 20 kilos of cocaine, which had a street value of approximately $1.4 million. Detectives arrested one suspect and seriously disrupted a large scale trafficking organization.
- In June 2017, the Unit executed a search warrant in the area of Chandler Boulevard and 132nd Street in reference to an ongoing narcotic sales investigation. Detectives identified a career criminal who was selling heroin and cocaine from his residence. A search warrant was conducted at the residence where detectives located guns, a large supply of oxycodone pills, cocaine and heroin. The suspect in the case has a long history with the Chandler Police Department as a career criminal. During the warrant, neighbors of the suspect thanked officers for giving them back their neighborhood.
- In June 2017, Narcotics detectives investigated a large-scale heroin supply organization operating in Chandler. With the assistance of the DEA, search warrants were served at multiple residences and yielded more than two pounds of heroin and cash. In all, approximately ten people were indicted on numerous felony charges.
- In July 2017, Narcotics detectives were contacted by a patrol officer in reference to a subject that had information on narcotic sales. The subject identified a subject selling heroin and methamphetamine from a hotel in Mesa. Detectives conducted an investigation on the subject and were able to identify him as having an active parole warrant. In conjunction with the US Marshall’s Task Force, detectives were able to take the subject into custody. A search warrant at his hotel room yielded multiple ounces of heroin and methamphetamine along with approximately $27,000.
- In July 2017, Narcotics detectives identified three apartments in the 1000 block of North California Street selling heroin and methamphetamine. Detectives were able to obtain probable cause for all three residences and simultaneous search warrants were conducted. Detectives seized drugs, cash and stolen property, but more importantly, sent a message of impact.
- In August 2017, the Unit conducted a drug operation in which 17 pounds of methamphetamine was seized from subjects.
- In August 2017, Narcotics detectives, with the assistance of patrol, conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle in reference to possible narcotic sales. During the traffic stop approximately one pound of marijuana, 32 grams of wax, numerous vials of marijuana concentrate, along with $7,000 were located in the vehicle. The subsequent investigation led to three search warrants of illegal marijuana grow operations in which 300 marijuana plants, 11 pounds of marijuana, eight ounces of wax, eight guns and a large amount of cash was seized.
- In September 2017, detectives conducted a narcotics operation in which they seized two kilos of heroin and three ounces of methamphetamine. Two subjects were arrested and charged for their roles in the incident.
- Throughout 2017, all of the work by Narcotics detectives has led to the identification and investigation of a large-scale heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine supplier operating in Chandler. This investigation is ongoing and will have a dramatic impact on the drug world at its conclusion.
The Narcotics Unit has committed itself to the mission at hand, and continues to foster strong working relationships in order to disrupt and dismantle the narcotic organizations that are operating in Chandler.
Property Crimes Unit
In addition to the outstanding work done on a daily basis, the Property Crimes Unit investigated several major cases during the past year that resulted in a significant reduction in property crime trends. Residential, commercial, and vehicle burglaries are some of the most prolific crimes in Chandler. Also, this year saw a significant increase in vehicle thefts. Property Crimes detectives vigorously addressed these crimes over the course of the year.
Organized retail crimes continue to be an issue for the businesses of Chandler. Most of these crimes are related to drug use: property stolen is often traded for drugs or sold to purchase drugs. Members of the Unit investigated numerous cases involving organized retail thefts which resulted in the closing of hundreds of shoplifting and theft cases, as well as the prosecution of those involved.
Arson and fire related investigations are done by some of the Property Crimes detectives who are certified in this area. In 2017, detectives investigated numerous fires that occurred in Chandler. These investigations are typically in-depth and time consuming. A lot of the investigations that may appear suspicious in nature at the time of the initial investigation turn out to be non-criminal incidents. However, some of the investigations result in criminal charges.
The following are examples of some of the cases worked by the Unit this year:
- One case investigated this year involved a suspect that had a title loan on a vehicle. When there was a default in loan payments, the suspect intentionally set the vehicle on fire in a residential neighborhood to prevent the loan company from taking ownership of it. The investigation done by detectives revealed the true nature of the fire and resulted in the prosecution of the suspect.
- Several burglaries were attempted on Chick-fil-A restaurants in Chandler and Gilbert. The suspects were unsuccessful in their attempts but caused some significant damage to the restaurants. When one of the attempts was made in Chandler, DNA evidence was found at the scene. Detectives had the evidence processed which disclosed the identity of an individual who had a history of similar crimes. This evidence ultimately lead to the arrest of one of the suspects involved and ended the series.
- The Property Crimes Units were able to identify and arrest three suspects who were responsible for a large number of residential burglaries in the Desert Breeze Precinct. These suspects were ultimately released on the charges because they were juveniles at the time of the offenses. After being released, the suspects continued committing burglaries and vehicle thefts. Through the diligence and tenacity of the Property Crimes detectives, more cases were built against the suspects and additional charges were filed. They were ultimately arrested and charged as adults.
- During the year, a subject was identified to Property Crimes detectives as a fence for stolen property. The suspect was believed to be trading stolen property for drugs. When this suspect was identified, detectives went to work building a case to shut down his operation. Over a several month period, intelligence was built on the suspect and his associates indicating that most of the property being traded for drugs came from residential burglaries in the city. Ultimately an undercover operation was done by Property Crimes detectives with the assistance of the Gang and Narcotics Units. The operation – named Operation Spiderweb – was completed with a search warrant at the suspect’s residence and storage units. Numerous stolen items were recovered during the service of the warrant and the main suspects in the case were taken into custody. Since the completion of this operation, as well as the previously mentioned cases, a reduction in burglaries has been seen citywide.
- Detectives from the Unit were able to identify one suspect who was responsible for numerous thefts of Nissan and Honda vehicles. Most of these thefts occurred in the Desert Breeze Precinct. During the investigation and subsequent arrest of the suspect, an additional suspect was identified. This led detectives to uncover the identities of four more suspects who were stealing vehicles as part of a personal competition to see who could steal the nicest vehicle. After the suspects were identified, extensive measures were taken to obtain their physical characteristics including DNA and fingerprints. Eventually, these four individuals were taken into custody. After these two investigations were completed, a significant decrease in vehicle thefts was seen citywide.
Robbery and Homicide Unit
In 2017, the Robbery/Homicide Unit investigated five (5) homicides, all of which were cleared by arrest. The 100% clearance rate speaks for itself regarding the quality of work that can be expected from the Detectives assigned to the Unit. Accidental drug overdoses have decreased in 2017 compared to the 17 seen in 2016. This year, the Unit has investigated 13 drug overdoses. The most common means being heroin (9), followed by Oxycontin (2) then fentanyl (1).
Other notable cases investigated by the Unit include:
- In February 2017, an arrest was made in the LA Fitness homicide that occurred in late 2016. The suspect was identified, arrested and charged with 2nd degree murder and is awaiting trial.
- In May 2017, the Hatchet Robbery Series was solved with the arrest and indictment of the suspect. Five armed robberies were cleared in the East Valley, two of which were in Chandler.
- In August 2017, the 1987 cold case homicide involving the disappearance of Donna Jokumsen was closed by indictment and the arrest of her husband, Kevin Jokumsen. Kevin is in custody in Washington and awaiting extradition to Arizona.
- In October 2017, the Too Close Bandit was identified and arrested. The suspect was charged with committing five bank robberies, three of which were in Chandler. Detectives worked in conjunction with the FBI Bank Robbery Task Force to bring this series to a successful conclusion.
- In October 2017, the Fashion Forward Bandit was identified and arrested in Chandler. The suspect was responsible for 15 robberies in the East Valley. Only one occurred in Chandler.
The Robbery/Homicide Unit continues to provide top notch service to the citizens of Chandler. The clearance rate for violent crimes far exceed the national average and is one reason why Chandler is cited as one of the safest big cities in the U.S.
Special Victims Unit
In 2017, the Special Victims Unit (SVU) worked over 700 investigations involving serious crimes of physical and/or sexual abuse committed against adults and children. In addition, this unit tracked over 180 registered sex offenders living within the City of Chandler. The sensitive and complex nature of these cases requires that an SVU detective complete hundreds of hours of specialized training. SVU partners with the Victims Services Unit, Department of Child Safety, forensic nurse examiners and many other organizations on a daily basis while conducting these investigations. This year, SVU detectives remain active participants on the Arizona Child Abduction Response Team (AZ CART), a multi-jurisdictional team tasked with responding across the state to an event of a critically missing or endangered child.
Victim Services Unit
(About this Unit)
The Victim Services Unit (VSU) received the 2017 Distinguished Service Award from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office in recognition of outstanding crime victim advocacy. VSU advocates worked with 987 crime victims of all crime types. The unit worked with victims of a number of felony cases: 11 survivors of homicides, 78 victims and families of aggravated assaults, 350 of child abuse cases and 72 of sexual assaults. Throughout the year VSU received specialized training to assist all victims including topics pertaining to traumatized victims, individuals with mental health issues, substance use, behavioral issues and traumatic brain injuries.
Along with providing individual assistance to the crime victims, VSU continued to work collaboratively with specialized police teams and with community agencies. VSU collaborated with the Human Trafficking Unit to assist victims of trafficking throughout the year. VSU and Special Victims Unit’s detectives conducted victimology community based trainings on domestic violence and reporting child abuse. VSU also remained active participants of the Arizona Child Abduction Response Team, in which the team assisted on missing children call-outs in the community.
Other accomplishments this year:
- The VSU Coordinator collaborated with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and police agency representatives to develop the Maricopa County Sexual Assault Kit Protocol.
- VSU assisted with the development and the implementation of the I AM Project in Chandler to assist individuals in seeking treatment for opiate abuse.
- VSU collaborated with crisis teams to conduct trainings to aid law enforcement officers, dispatchers and mental health professionals in addressing behavioral and mental health issues. This was conducted in two forums, quarterly through the East Valley Crisis Intervention Training and during an individual training day for mental health therapists and other professionals.
- VSU collaborated with A. Tom Wood Realty for a teddy bear drive. During the 2 hour event, 816 teddy bears were donated by community members.
- VSU conducted presentations at community events and at a variety of organizations ranging from police citizen academies to faith-based establishments. These events helped raise public awareness about domestic violence, violence in the work place and the services offered by the Chandler Police Department to help victims.