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Phoenix, Talent police arrest drug suspects

Phoenix and Talent police have made several arrests in an undercover drug-buying operation aimed at stopping neighborhood dealers, especially those near schools, Phoenix Police Chief Kurt Barthel said.

"We wanted to focus on livability for neighborhoods," he said.

A Phoenix police officer went undercover nearly three months ago to target small-time dealers. Barthel noted that while some law enforcement agencies focus on making big busts of top-level suppliers, this effort targeted small operations that generate high volumes of traffic and other problems that disrupt neighborhoods.

"These are the day-to-day issues that affect citizens," he said. "We get a lot of complaints from neighbors."

The undercover officer bought cocaine and methamphetamine from four people earlier this fall. Three of the sales took place within 1,000 feet of a school, Barthel said.

Officers moved to arrest suspects in recent weeks, finding one already in jail and one in hiding, Barthel said. Two additional suspects are being sought under warrants.

Barbara Ann Williams, 51, of Phoenix, was lodged in the Jackson County Jail Tuesday on charges of possessing, manufacturing and conspiring to deliver cocaine, as well as manufacturing cocaine within 1,000 feet of Armadillo Technical Institute in Phoenix. Bail is set at $115,000. Barthel said she was repackaging cocaine for sale.

Robin Sophia Kigel, 22, of Talent, was in jail on a parole violation from an earlier drug case when Phoenix police added charges of possession and delivery of methamphetamine on Nov. 27. She remains in jail without bail.

Barthel said he hopes officers will make additional arrests soon. When those suspects are in custody, more details about the school neighborhoods where the deals happened will be released.

Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4485, or e-mail aburke@mailtribune.com.