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Behind the scenes with Pinal County's 'GHOST Squad'

Posted at 10:34 PM, Jan 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-20 11:09:24-05

ABC15 went for an action-packed ride-along with the Pinal County Sheriff's Office G.H.O.S.T. Squad, as they tracked down and arrested two men who had warrants out for their arrests. 

G.H.O.S.T. stands for Gang and Habitual Offender Strike Team. 

The seven-member crew was formed in October 2017. In just four months, they have already made 33 felony arrests. 

The members spent the morning tracking down a man who was wanted on a felony drug warrant in Casa Grande. They surrounded two different houses, trying to track him down. 

Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb is the creator of the squad. 

"Their job is to find the worst of the worst and protect our communities," said Sheriff Lamb.

Sheriff Lamb says as the crew targets the most wanted suspects, taking a burden off the patrol deputies, who are busy responding to calls all over the county. 

The crew then switched targets and traveled to Coolidge. 

"The next target will be Steven Zepeda, wanted on a child abuse warrant," said Sgt. Marc Miller with the G.H.O.S.T. Squad.

The crew surrounded the house, ready to strike if the suspect tried to run out the back door. 

The suspect was inside the house and refused to open the door, but yelled at the squad through the window. 

"I'm coming out, but I want to make sure someone is here before we go," the suspect yelled. 

Zepeda did not want to leave his daughter or be cuffed in front of her. 

"You've been cool with us," Sheriff Lamb yelled through the window. "I'm not putting you in cuffs in front of her. We're all dads man."

With some coaxing, the G.H.O.S.T. members were able to get the suspect to surrender. 

Once his baby was in safe hands, he was cuffed behind the police vehicles. 

While making one arrest, a man at a neighboring home poked his head around the corner, asking what was going on. It turns out the man had a misdemeanor assault warrant out for his arrest. 

Sgt. Miller said the suspect, Ajohn Jamerson, is well known in the system and they recognized him right away. 

"I was able to observe the subject open the back door and try to flee out the back," said Sgt. Miller. "Everyone is safe, and no one was injured. That's a successful day."

The G.H.O.S.T. Squad also works with other agencies like Phoenix Police, or ones out of state, to help track down suspects who might be hiding in Pinal County.