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Jun 16, 2014 9:36 PM by Lupita Murillo

N4T Crimetrackers: Strike Force

MARANA - Crime rates are down in Marana, and a lot of it has to do with a special team that was formed to target community problems such as burglaries, prostitution and fraud. It's a squad that's been on the streets for three years.

Officer Randy Korth is one of the five members of the Direct Action Response Team known as DART. "We work the problem areas of Marana," he said.

On this day, they're working everything from drug busts, DUI arrests, to massage parlors offering more than just a massage.

"There's about eight or nine places that we've gotten rid of in our town," said Korth.

4:30 p.m.
Officers Korth and Daniel Powell check on a business located on Ina road to make sure they are in compliance. They are missing a body massage license, but the owner insists they are only giving foot massages and not body massages.

The owner said she will go to city hall to get the proper license.

5:40 p.m.
The DART team maps out locations to serve arrest warrants on folks who have failed to show up in court.

They find their target, he's outside his house, covered in blood, urine, and reeking of alcohol.

"How much you drinking today?" asked officer Korth. The response? "Way too much but I haven't been driving."

A Marana patrol officer drove him to the Pima County Jail.

6:20 p.m.
Officer Korth drove to the next location to serve a drug warrant with no bond.

Again, the target is home and immediately asked the DART team, "am I under arrest or something?"

The officers explain the warrant, and before he's taken to jail, he's searched. They find drug paraphernalia on him. He told the officers, "I just picked it up off the ground, really, I swear to God."

Off to jail he went, with an additional charge.

8:23 p.m.
The hotels along the freeway are also hot spots the DART team keeps close tabs on. "A lot of prostitution, drug use, fraud," Korth said.

A white SUV has been seen coming and going for about two weeks. The officers check out the license plate, and the VIN number, and it comes back to a black SUV.

The officers went to hotel room, knock on the door and are met with barking dogs. Two pit bulls that had to be separated before the officers went in.

The officers walk in and explain the reason they are there. "We've had a lot of problems with drugs and illegal activity in this hotel."

The couple claimed their landlord died, so they've been there a month and are checking out the next day.

Officer Korth asked the couple, "do you mind if we take a quick look around the room make sure nothing illegal here if not we'll get on out?" The couple replied, "yeah sure, OK."

First thing, officers find a hypodermic needle.

Officer Korth asked again, "let me ask you guys, is there anything illegal we need to know about?" The response? "Far as I know, no."

The officers find a spoon. The couple explained, "we had a friend over and it belongs to her." The officers find heroin, and other drug paraphernalia.

The couple is advised of their rights, and as Officer Korth is reciting their rights, he found a machete beside the bed.

The couple agreed to talk to the DART officers. They admit the heroin belongs to them. They have a problem and are trying to get into a program to get off the drug.

Other officers show up and while taking pictures of the evidence, discover even more paraphernalia. The man is asked if he has any weapons on him he says no then officers make a startling discovery as they search him. They find a knife.

By midnight, the couple is taken to jail on felony drug charges. The dogs were turned over to a family member.

The end of their shift, and the DART team, along with the other Marana police officers, know they're doing their job and keeping the community safe.

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