AZ Senate Investigation Shows Evidence Gov. Katie Hobbs and Other Officials Allegedly Took Bribes From Sinaloa Drug Cartel

A number of high profile Arizona politicians and officials have been accused of receiving bribes from the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel, but at the top of the list is new Governor Katie Hobbs.

The California-based Harris/Thaler Law Corporation has evidence that connects Hobbs, Secretary of State Adrian Fontes, Runbeck Election Services, and a disturbing number of mayors, judges, city council members, and county supervisors of receiving bribes from the notorious drug cartel.

This discovery was announced during a recent hearing in front of the Senate Elections and Municipal Oversight & Elections Joint Committee. The presentation was conducted by principle investigator Jacqueline Breger from Harris/Thaler, who went into excruciating detail as to how what started as an investigation into allegations of money-laundering turned into this major scandal.

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The Investigation

According to Breger, “In 2006, the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa investigated the laundering of drug cartel monies through a complex series of single-family home purchases in those states.

“By 2009, numerous real estate agents, escrow companies and title insurers had been indicted, charged and convicted of racketeering.” She continued, “In 2014, our office was asked to review the case files and to determine whether monies from the sales of the properties had filtered to property purchases in Arizona, specifically in Maricopa and Pima County.”

The Sinaloa Cartel, which is ran by the infamous Joaquín  “El Chapo”Archivaldo Guzmán Loera who is serving a life sentence in a supermax prison in Colorado, is considered to be the most powerful and deadly drug cartel in the world.

Investigators connected their discoveries back to Arizona when they found out that it was several real estate agents from Iowa who “had set up a laundering system in Arizona and thereafter had transferred the proceeds of sales to Panamanian Corporations.”

Bregers pointed out “In 2018, Mr. Thaler discovered, incidental to another matter, a series of trust deeds evidencing that cash laundering through single family residences in Arizona was pervasive and ongoing. With that, a new investigation began with the focus being on money laundering and related racketeering activities in Maricopa County and several other Arizona counties.”

It was also noted that Harris/Thaler also currently represents several parties “directly damaged by the racketeering activities” discovered.

In the lengthy report Breger provided, Arizona residents Dawna Rae Chavez and her daughter Brittany Rae Chavez were accused of being the “principal preparers of the documents necessary to effect the racketeering enterprises.”

According to Bregers, “To date, more than 10,000 falsified documents have been recorded with the Maricopa County Recorder. We estimate that more than 35,000 warranty deeds/trust deeds evidencing fraudulent transactions exist in the database. 11. The number of falsified notarizations exceeds 15,000.  12. Dawna and Brittany’s participation in racketeering activities also includes facilitation of bribes to public officials, tax evasion, payroll theft, bankruptcy fraud, insurance fraud, and extortion.”

The money from these activities allegedly went directly to a number of politicians and election officials going back to 2004.

“Since 2004, elections within Pima County and Maricopa County have been manipulated through infiltration of the county databases resulting from bribes paid to executives at election service providers including, but not limited to, principals of Runbeck Election Services,” Bregers said. “In addition to impacting local elections, bribes and infiltration were used to affect the outcome of the races during the November 3, 2020 election, including the outcome of the race for Maricopa County Recorder, and the outcome of the November 8, 2022 election (race for Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General).”

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Into the Rabbit Hole

According to Breger’s report, the list of those who allegedly accepted cartel bribes include but are not limited to “multiple state office holders (State House/State Senate), local office holders, county supervisors, judges of the Maricopa County Superior Court, judges of several city courts (including two presiding judges), judge’s assistants, prosecutors within certain cities within Maricopa County, prosecutors for Maricopa County, peripheral legal specialists including attorneys, ‘approved’ mental healthcare providers (court appointed advisors) and related specialists.”

She added that in the Superior Courts for Maricopa County, Pinal County and Pima County, “at least 25 percent of the active judges have accepted bribes in exchange for protecting the racketeering activities.”

Towards the later end of the report, a list of the officials who allegedly falsified deeds connected to the money laundering operations include Gov. Hobbs, Secretary of State Adrian Fontes, Sen. Krysten Sinema, Rep. Ruben Gallego, Mayor  John Giles of Mesa, Arizona Speaker of the House Ben Toma, and many others.

Bregers noted that “This list comprises individuals where investigation has been completed. Additional officials including judges and election officials for Maricopa County and spouses are currently implicated by the evidence obtained to date.”

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