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Sheriff's detectives search for 2 accused in Guerena probe

The Pima County Sheriff's Department is looking for two men in connection with a drug trafficking organization investigation in which a Marine veteran was fatally shot by SWAT officers in May 2010.

Detectives from the Special Investigations Unit are looking for Alejandro Ortiz Guerena, 28, and Gerardo Guerena, 24, whom they believe may be hiding in Caborca, Mexico, or Oquitoa, Mexico, sad PCSD spokeswoman Sgt. Dawn Barkman.

The investigation began into into the drug trafficking organization in 2009 when Barkman said detectives became aware it was operating in Pima County, Barkman said.

On May 5, 2010, Pima Regional SWAT Team members served a search warrant at the South Side home of Marine veteran Jose Guerena. Guerena pointed an assault rifle at the officers and they fired their weapons, shooting him 60 times. While initial reports from the Sheriff's Department said Guerena had shot at the officers, a statement two weeks later said his weapon's safety was on.

Detectives arrested three people in March involved in the investigation, one of whom, Pauline Guerena, is Jose Guerena's sister-in-law.

Pauline Guerena, and her father, Jose Rafael Celaya, and sister, Denise Ruiz, were arrested following a traffic stop at Oklahoma Street and Camino Verde on two vehicles seen leaving a home that was under survellance in the 6200 block of W. Oklahoma St. Deputies found $30,000 in cash in one of the vehicles, Barkman said in March.

Detectives searched the Oklahoma Street home at that time and found cash and other evidence Barkman said was related to drug trafficking.

Anyone with information on the the whereabouts of Alejandro Ortiz Guerena or Gerardo Guerena is asked to call 911 or 88-CRIME.

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Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the circumstances immediately prior to SWAT Team members fatally shooting Jose Guerena.

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1 comment on this story

Jun 12, 2012, 2:48 pm
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Kudos to the Editors for making the correction to the story. While it certainly appears that Jose Guerena’s family is involved in some shady business, that did not deprive him of the right to a jury trial rather than an execution. It is my belief that he never took his weapon off of safe because he realized that the men at his front door were indeed LEOs and not a home invasion team.The victim had been trained to be respective of authority and that became the cause of his demise. The fact that the PCSD denied him medical attention would support the theory that they needed to make sure that he never lived to testify in his own behalf. If this murder had occurred in El Salvador or Nicaragua, no one would raise an eyebrow. Here in the USA, it should make every civilian’s hair stand on end. Who’s next? You, me someone’s grandmother. Stay tuned.

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Pima County Sheriff's Department

Alejandro Ortiz Guerena