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DIGGING DEEPER: Taking drugs off the streets

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TUCSON (KVOA) - High tech hooks up with good old fashion police work.

The Digging Deeper team was granted rare access to a counter-narcotics alliance unit that specializes in taking drugs and drug dealers off the streets using social media.

Social media keeps us informed. Drug dealers are using those platforms to sell their product. And thanks to the 88-CRIME tips, police are monitoring those timelines.

"One of our primary focus this week is focusing on people that are selling fentanyl."

You won't see the sergeant's or the officers' faces in the counter narcotics unit, but they're undercover exposing this side of the drug trade.

"We're going to try and identify who the dealers are that is selling the fentanyl and who are the suppliers."

They're keeping the community safe by using social media.

"Just like the information from the tip looks like he is selling fentanyl pills, " "Actually he's got a gammut, a couple of different things even some LSD, as well."

Marana Sergeant Jose Alvarez worked undercover with CNA and knows the dangers associated with the drug trade, especially among teenagers.

"So, it's important for parents to keep an eye on their kids and their social media, and see what they're posting on it," Alvarez said. "Take the appropriate action because it's a concerning trend they are seeing."

Four months ago an 18-year-old was shot and killed at a parking lot in Rita Ranch. In June, two juveniles were arrested and charged with murder. It was a drug deal gone bad. Officers say teenagers are looking to buy THC cartridges.

"We'll also see the same circles selling LSD, and pills, and molly or ectasy."

Dealers are also posting videos bragging about their drugs.

"He's showing us video of how I guess strong or potent his acid is compared to other acid that he has come across."

"Overdoses, as you guys know, are at a very high level and we want to do everything we can to reduce those numbers as well."

Officers say they want the public to call 88-CRIME if they have information about any drug deals they see happening.

Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.

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