Chop shop bust out of Tolleson results in man’s arrest

Authorities busted a chop shop in the Tolleson area Aug. 14, 2019 and arrested a man as a result. (Photo by Arizona Department of Public Safety)

A man was arrested in connection with a chop shop operation out of the Tolleson area.

James M. Zavala, 46, was booked into jail on ten counts of theft and one count of owning/operating a chop shop.

On Aug. 14, an investigation by the Arizona’s Border Strike Force Vehicle Theft Task Force led to a search warrant and subsequent recovery of several stolen vehicles and car parts.

VTTF detectives recovered five Ford pickup trucks, a 2003 Mercedes sedan, a 2017 Honda motorcycle, a CAT construction truck, two box trailers, an engine, and miscellaneous vehicle parts.

“We see stolen vehicles being used to commit other serious crimes,” stated Capt. P. Etnire, VTTF Commander. “The success of this search warrant resulted from a tip, and so we encourage people to report suspicious activity to local law enforcement or to the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC).”

According to a release, the VTTF is comprised of city, county, state law enforcement agencies participating in a concerted effort to identify, apprehend and prosecute individuals, and criminal organizations that profit from the theft of motor vehicles and related crimes.

The ultimate goal in the creation of the Arizona Border Strike Force is to deter, disrupt, and dismantle transnational criminal organizations that breach the border in their quest to set up business in Arizona.

Specific units within the Border Strike Force Bureau include the Canine District, the Southern Investigations District, and the Vehicle Theft District.

Citizens can play an important role in homeland security by being vigilant and watching for signs of terrorist, criminal or suspicious activity.

Report tips online, by calling 877-272-8329 anytime during the day, and via the Arizona DPS mobile app.

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