As part of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) “Project Delirium” San Diego agents arrested 24 suspected cross-border drug traffickers.
Those arrested were in procession of hundreds of pounds of illegal drugs and authorities said the smugglers belonged to brutal Mexican drug cartels.
The suspected traffickers were transporting large quantities of methamphetamine and other controlled substances into San Diego County. The seizure of the drugs prevented them from being distributed across the U.S., said William R. Sherman, acting special agent-in-charge of the San Diego DEA.
“When you take the arrests made here in San Diego and couple them with the coordinated nationwide effort this week against this violent organization, you see that we have disrupted their whole distribution chain, from the street seller to the middle man to the leaders of the organization in Mexico,” Sherman said.
The agents in San Diego seized more than 200 pounds of meth, 200 pounds of marijuana, one pound of cocaine and three pounds of heroin, Sherman said.
Today, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office filed multiple charges against 12 suspects for possession of methamphetamine, transport of drugs and hiring an under-aged minor to transport controlled substances.
The biggest offenders snagged in the DEA raid included; Francisco Saucedo, 46, Mayra Arroyo, 24, and Roberto Buenrostro Duran, 23, -all pleaded not guilty to the drug charges and held on $500,000 bond.
One search warrant recovered more than 18 pounds of crystal meth buried in the backyard of Arroyo. In another arrest agents nabbed Buenrostro transporting a backpack filled methamphetamine during a traffic stop.
Deputy District Attorney Allison Fomon said her office arraigned three other defendants on Friday and the rest will face a judge later in the week.
The prosecutor said the suspects face just five to eight years of jail time if convicted.
Officials said the year-and-a-half long sting targeted suspects in America with ties to the vicious Mexican drug trafficking organization La Familia, located in Michoacan, Mexico.
Last week federal authorities reported the U.S. arrested 1,980 perpetrators and seized $60 million in cash. The agents also confiscated nearly 2,770 pounds of methamphetamine, 6,000 pounds of cocaine, 1,000 pounds of heroin, 14,000 pounds of marijuana and $3.8 million in assets.
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© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved
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There’s no doubt about the wreckage that illegal drugs and their pushers leave behind. In Mexico’s case, the five-year narco battle with the cartels has taken 40,000 lives, but to make matters worse, Afghanistan, the central battlefield for the “War on Terror” has company- the Mexican drug cartels.
A recent El Universal story confirmed that “Mexican narco-traffickers operate like multinational emissaries to establish contacts and place operatives that can deal with the Turkish and Indian criminal organizations in order to facilitate the production and sale of drugs, specifically heroin.”
By controlling the flow of illicit narcotics in the Western hemisphere, the Mexican cartels can use those profits to market their product globally. Combine that with the virtual lawlessness in Mexico and Central America and criminal organizations have an environment suitable for continued criminal activity.
“It is in the interest of these Mexican groups (in particular the Sinaloa cartel) that they open smuggling routes for the distribution of heroin (Afghanistan produces 90 percent of the world’s heroin) to the U.S. market. Furthermore, they are not only focusing on the movement of Afghan heroin through Mexico; they are also taking positions of power as major players in the international world of the heroin trade,” according to Edgardo Buscaglia, director of the International Center of Legal and Economic Development.
When considering the strict Muslim religious lifestyle the Taliban imposes on its followers it may seem ironic to think the Taliban leaders would partner up with the nefarious Mexican drug lords, but in both cases, it is about the money needed to achieve their perspective goals. It is a match made in Heaven.
Leading the way is Mexico’s top cartel leader “El Chapo” (Joaquin Guzman Loera) of Sinaloa fame who has eluded capture by the Mexican government since his famous prison breakout in 2001. Many argue El Chapo’s family relationship with current Mexican President Felipe Calderon has kept him from being apprehended by authorities.
“It is not as if (Joaquín) El Chapo Guzmán (Loera) himself travels to Turkey, it is up to his emissaries to maintain good relations in that country. They keep the flow of heroin packages and money that belongs to the Sinaloa cartel moving to their appropriate destinations,” said Buscaglia in his interview with El Universal.
Once the illicit narcotics reach the U.S., cartels are able to outsource their distribution by enlisting established gang members.
In turn, money from the sale of Afghanistan heroin is used by emissaries often to purchase arms, bribes and other drug-trafficking items.
Buscaglia assured readers that “Mexican groups are gaining a presence on the world stage, not only in drug trafficking, but also in the arms smuggling and money laundering schemes of Romania and Bulgaria. They are also making inroads into the European Union markets.”
Currently the largest firearm suppliers, other than China or America, are the Albanians, Russians, Venezuela and Germany. The largest buyers for these weapons are located in known- drug producing countries.
Keeping an eye on the drug trade is the U.S. Drug and Enforcement Agency (DEA), and they consider “El Chapo” the cartel’s top dog.
Despite having a $7 million bounty on his head and evading thousands of law enforcement agents from the U.S. and Mexico devoted to his capture, Guzman has made the Forbes’s “Most Powerful People” list. It appears to law enforcement agencies that the destruction of the Sinaloa cartel and its boyish kingpin remain a top priority.
“We have personnel dedicated strictly to Chapo Guzman. That’s the importance we have placed on getting him,” a DEA official told the Associated Press. “If you totaled up U.S law enforcement and foreign law enforcement stretching through Central America, South America, certainly thousands of law enforcement personnel is exclusively focused on the entire Sinaloa operation.”
That being said, the DEA manhunt for El Chapo appears similar in scope to the search for Osama bin Laden.
“With Chapo, he’s got the whole Robin Hood thing going,” DEA told the AP. “People in close proximity to him might not be motivated to turn him in.”
© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.
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