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Nov 29, 2012 6:16 PM by Lupita Murillo

AZ DPS serves search warrants on copper theft case

TUCSON - Search warrants were served today in the case of Arizona stolen copper.

In September, Arizona's Department of Public Safety Truck Enforcement unit discovered a tractor trailer filled with stolen copper ingots. They'd been stolen from Asarco's Hayden mine and taken to a ranch northwest of Tucson. From there, the ingots made it to California where they were loaded onto a shipping container and then transported to China.

DPS served three search warrants, one at La Cholla Air Park, another in San Manuel, and the last one in Dudleyville.

AZ DPS Captain Ken Hunter says, "The goal of the search warrant was to obtain information and evidence to further identify individuals that were involved in the stealing of the copper."

Hubert Elbert lives at La Cholla Park. He says it's a very quiet area where most homes sit on seven acres or more. He was shocked when the officers rolled in with lights and weapons. "I saw a policeman go into that garbage truck and poke with his sub machine gun through it. So they are looking for something," said Elbert.

Officers searched the property including corrals and a hangar. Captain Hunter says, "In all three locations we're finding evidence and items of interest that are going to help further this investigation."

When the officers went into the house they found two men, a woman, and a small child. Three of them could be seen leaving the residence in a black truck. It's reported they are renting the house. Another neighbor tells News 4 they'd been there for about a year and a half.

No arrests have been made. The investigation continues. Asarco is offering a $50,000 reward for information.

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