Authorities: Mexican Drug Cartel Suffers "Death Blow;" Billion-Dollar Trafficking Ring Busted Up by Law Enforcement Agencies

cartelbust.jpg
ICE
Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies claim to have delivered a "death blow" to a Mexican drug trafficking ring that was running $33 million worth of drugs through Arizona every month.

Authorities announced this morning the results of "Operation Pipeline Express," a 17-month investigation into a drug trafficking ring that has ties to Mexico's Sinaloan cartel.

The operation was a collaborative effort by
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations squad, the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, and the Arizona Attorney General's Office.

"Today we have dealt a significant blow to a Mexican criminal enterprise that has been responsible for poisoning our communities with the distribution of millions of dollars' worth of marijuana, cocaine and heroin," Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne says. "I find it completely unacceptable that Arizona neighborhoods are treated as a trading floor for narcotics."

In all, 76 people were arrested in connection with "Operation Pipeline Express," including 22 who were taken into custody last week.

According to authorities, those arrested include organizational "bosses," stash house guards, and load drivers.

The traffickers
operated around cells based in Chandler, Stanfield and Maricopa, where they used backpackers and vehicles to move loads of marijuana and other drugs from the Arizona-Mexico border to a "network of 'stash' houses in the Phoenix area." After arriving in Phoenix, the drugs, which also included cocaine and heroin, were sold to distributors from multiple states nationwide.

During last week's operation, authorities
seized more than two tons of marijuana, 19 weapons -- including assault rifles, handguns, and shotguns -- and nearly $200,000 in cash.

Intelligence gathered by law enforcement indicates the trafficking ring has been in operation for at least five years. During that time, authorities say it's moved
more than 3.3 million pounds of marijuana, 20,000 pounds of cocaine, and 10,000 pounds of heroin into to the United States, generating nearly $2 billion in profits.

"Through our joint efforts, we've sent a resounding message to the Mexican cartels that Arizona is off limits to their operatives," Matthew Allen, special agent in charge for HSI in Arizona, says. "As this case makes clear, law enforcement in Arizona is united in its resolve to protect our communities and our country from the scourge of large-scale narcotics trafficking. We stand ready to use every tool and resource at our disposal to attack and dismantle these organizations."

So far, "Operation Pipeline Express" has led to the seizure of more than 60,000 pounds of marijuana, more than 200 pounds of cocaine, 160 pounds of heroin, more than $750,000 in cash, and nearly 110 weapons -- including multiple assault rifles.   
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40 comments
Tony
Tony

what no meth in all those busts they found no meth. What the drug cartels think meth is such a messed up drug they don`t want to sell it?

Chas
Chas

Death blow??? My goodness, with all the tonnage they have picked up the last few weeks, it hasn't, nor will it even slow supply or demand for even a millisecond.

I find it interesting that the Obama administration announced this last week that they intend to keep tossing kids in jail and turning them into hardened criminals because cannabis might not be good for them.Of course they don't like that it is 'smoked' .. smoking they say is a bad delivery system.. can't legalize the 'smoke'.Yet no one, or at least not very many if at all, have ever died from it.Alcohol kills people all the time, more than any other drug, legal and illegal combined (excluding tobacco), yet the President sure does like his 'beer summit' photo ops. My 9 yr old even clipped a picture of the President chugging a beer for his 'in the news' school project. ---The whole thing is a lie.. an expensive and deadly live. We are destroying our country over something that is so obviously on the slow expensive road to failure anyway. Hemp/cannabis has been growing naturally in every state of the union since before any of them were even states. This isn't a product that is especially exotic or has to grow in a special climate.. it's a weed.A weed that thus far has cost us 2 trillion dollars, and incarcerated a great many millions of our own people who simply don't belong in a prison system. In this same time, grass is easier to get than ever, more readily available than ever, cheaper than ever, better than ever and more socially acceptable than ever. One needn't be a rocket scientist to see how this is going to end anyway.. can we please please please stop the self imposed swath of destruction to ourselves over this almost childish issue in the mean time?

Anonymous
Anonymous

...that has been responsible for poisoning our communities...No consumers, no more drugs...

Cscc23osu
Cscc23osu

They only failed to find $560,250,000 of cash that should have been generated during the 17 month investigation or the $1,900,250,000 made over its 5 years.  Safe to say, "Mission Accomplished."

Linda
Linda

This is why we should legalize drugs, stop the trafficking. People won't get hurt or murdered. 

Not
Not

Typical AZ.  A bunch of babies who don't know how to respectfully disagree.  Group think is so Stepford, yet so AZ.  Not that you need my permission, it's really okay to have an original thought.  One that differs from the mainstream malarkey, here in the AZ.  The American government is dumb as hell.  There is no other place on the earth, that people can migrate without consequence, then pratically force the natives of that land to learn their language or at least have everything translated to make their lives easier, while social service systems are drained, along with a variety of other systems, jails, hospitals, schools etc. etc. The War on Drugs is a joke and for those who don't like what I have typed, get some Zig Zags and roll it up with some chronic, and smoke sh... 

mikefrombisbee
mikefrombisbee

Hooray! the drug war is over! What? It's not over? The mules and intermediaries have already been replaced? But-but-but....

This has been going since Tricky Dicky was in office. To what avail? The question that should have been asked at the big dog and pony show is...has the price for illegal drugs increased as a result of your efforts? If not, then the supply has not been significantly impacted and this is all for naught.

America is as addicted to its dope as it is to reality TV shows and fast food. And as addicted as the criminal justice system is to its own share of drug money - from bribes to seized assets and federal grants.

Dumoudan
Dumoudan

When will the Mexican occupation of the United States end?

Dave Francis
Dave Francis

AMERICAN WORKERS JOBSARE VULNERABLE?  WHAT ABOUT AMERICANWORKERS CIVIL RIGHTS?

 

E-verify is a commitment by all honest politicians, with an answerto every American workers prayer. The Representative Judicial Ways & Meanschairman Smith, has a need for more sponsors to pass the ‘Legal Workforce Act. Itis guaranteed to remove illegal aliens from the job market, and make allbusiness owners under federal obligation or face serious sanctions, whichbefore a district judge could carry hefty fines, business property confiscationand without the exclusion of a prison term.

 

The E-Verify program is possible the greatest deterrent againstthe illegal alien invasion and it will inhibit—the labor and consequently thefamily with instant citizenship children born to illegal aliens and smuggledinto this country.  Nobody should get anyspecial privilege in education tuition or health care, especially—ILLEGAL ALIENS.Of course it is demonized by the so called ‘progressives’—AS E-VERIFY WORKS!

 

We have seen the consequences of illegal immigration, thatthroughout the last 25 years, that without the real 2006 Secure Fence Act by lackingany true enforcement within our sovereign country, we have been overrun andoccupied. The costs to support the economic invasion of 20 million plus people,represents a failure of numerous administrations. No need to go into thefinancial ramifications of this terrible epidemic, as everybody knows the expenditurecould pay for a small countries surplus. It’s in the hundreds of billions,which you can study at the Heritage Foundation website.  Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann or any GOPhardliners or moderate, hoping in the next year to attain the presidency betterhave an answer for the illegal immigration invasion and not—MASS AMNESTY?  Any form of Immigration reform leads to moreCHAIN MIGRATION, adding more people to the welfare rolls; encouraging even morepeople to come here.

 

Unlike Europe, we don’t need more poverty slipping through ourporous border or taking a one-way airplane trip. We are already depleting ourprecious resources and so we must hold the line at a porous border, having astanding National Guard to compliment the US Border patrol. England is under atremendous strain, because of the Labor Morons and Conservatives and overwhelmingpopulation problem through legal and illegal immigration. Europe is underconstant bombardment from poor nations that encroach from the Northeast. Illegal Immigration is just about bountiful supplies of profit tobusinesses and millions of extra votes. View it like this? The more illegalaliens that pour through the none-restraining fence at our borders the morecustomers for goods and services? It’s strictly about uncontrolled greed.

 

President Obama has started to falter in enforcing our immigrationlaws, by cutting border inspections on entering transportation through theborder regions. Buses, trains will not be rigorously checked as before, whenpeople who act suspiciously are asked for their immigration documents. Insteadthe US Border agents will rely only on intelligence beforehand. This policy alongwith Obama’s executive order, to only apprehend criminals and hold fordeportation; the rest of illegal aliens with no apparent record, released tothe streets.

 

E-Verify or the ‘Legal Workforce Act (Bill H.R. 2885) needs everylawmakers attention and every American needs to call or fax theirrepresentative in Washington, and hope they have not  yet been corrupted by special interestlobbyists, that swarm like bloated insidious flies in the halls of Congress.  NumbersUSA has a free faxing service that isavailable to every legal resident or citizen. You also have the option ofcalling Washington yourself at 202-224-3121.

 

This is a critical time before the 2012 election, and requiresenough House Representatives to sponsor this bill in the next session.

 

Environmentalists need to open their eyes to the mounds ofgarbage, left by drug packers, illegal aliens and the tracks of othercriminals, finding their way across the border. Instead of complaining about somefrog or plant, they should go and clean up the effluence.

 

To repeat, illegal aliens have been voting in our elections. TheTEA PARTY will be scrutinizing electoral rolls, registration and absenteeballots.

Guest
Guest

More hype from the government propaganda mill. Anyone with more than half a brain realizes they'll be up and running in a week or two. The amount of product seized is irrelevant: they have plenty more down on la finca. The people nailed are irrelevant, too. They'll be replaced with new hires during the next few days.

Johnnie Dorman
Johnnie Dorman

I agree, this stupid useless and futile drug war is one of the dumbest things America has ever been a part of since the alcohol prohibition. The reason we have a drug war is because so many Americans don't learn from history. That's also the reason we have a repeat of the economic disaster that we had in the late twenties and thirties when Nixon, then Reagan, began their war against the middle class.

Lvmontiel
Lvmontiel

Sorry Linda but you are wrong about legalizing, is a nice idea, but the problem is not about the drugs, the problem is about the cartels. Cartels are like big corporations of crime, drugs is just 1 of about 20 business products, along with extortion, kidnaping, slavery, weapons trafiking, money laundering and so on. Loosing marihuana exports will change nothing. In any case to have a mild impact you will need to legalize cocain, heroin and metanfetamins and that is not going to happen! Congress will never vote for that!

Linda
Linda

If you really want to get technical, we typical AZ bunch, the language of this land is Spanish, we are/were the invaders. So if that's what your Stepford group thinks, then stay the  hell out of our part of the country, we don't want your malarkey either. Though you're right about the war on drugs and us being forced to learn Spanish which is really the language of this side of the country. WE force them to learn English because we took their land, survival of the fittest and all. The last thing we are here in AZ are babies, that is such a joke. Seems like the only way you can handle life is by smoking a Zig Zag, with some Chronic, whatever that is; where would you get that from Mexico? So you're part of problem. Yes, that's your reality.

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

Personally, I would rather be in a room full of junkies, than a room full of Jersey Shore fans.

Did you notice that the article said the ring had been in operation for 5 years and had moved 3.3 million lbs of pot along with thousands of lbs of heroin and cocaine, at a profit of approx 2 BILLION?

WAY TO GO DRUG WARRIORS!

You got a measly 2000 lbs of pot, NO cocaine, NO heroin and they've ALREADY CLEARED 2 BILLION. Do any of you DEA rocket surgeons see the problem here?

Freedomfighter
Freedomfighter

As usual, Mike has hit the nail square on the head..

Raoul Duke
Raoul Duke

When will the dumbass occupation of the comments end?

mikefrombisbee
mikefrombisbee

Again with the one track mind. Jeezus, they have meds now for OCD...

Seedy Ward
Seedy Ward

Probably about when the US occupation of native American lands ends, dumbass.

Mike W
Mike W

"President Obama has started to falter in enforcing our immigrationlaws"

Is that why he's deported more illegals in just three years than the last three Republican presidents combined?

Jenna
Jenna

Are you getting the attention you crave with the big, giant posts with the big, giant line breaks in between each thought?

Seedy Ward
Seedy Ward

Not only is that a wall of text, it's totally stupid.

Mene Tekel
Mene Tekel

I LOL'd when I saw the term "death blow." Can New Times do an investigation into how many times the DEA have said "death blow" before? 

Ross
Ross

Look at the bright side.  More jobs for more private prisons!

Nothingnessubiquitous
Nothingnessubiquitous

Wrong, find some of the estimated numbers. Drugs are worth more than all of those things  combined many, many fold. If Americans could grow their own the cartels WOULD die. 

Dumoudan
Dumoudan

When will the Mexican occupation of the United States end?

Anonymous
Anonymous

Never!! or until the US scum bags do the jobs that now illegal aliens do...UNTIL then we'll see...

mikefrombisbee
mikefrombisbee

When will your momma admit that she made a big mistake by not applying a little more torque to the coat hangar?

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