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Crackdown on Mexican Cartels in U.S. Nets 2,200-Plus Arrests in 22 Months

Cities with "takedown activities" June 9 and 10, 2010/doj

Cities with "takedown activities" June 9 and 10, 2010/doj

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

More than 2,200 people have been arrested in the past 22 months — 429 of them Wednesday — in a crackdown on Mexican drug trafficking organizations in the U.S. dubbed “Project Deliverance”, the Justice Department announced.

Among those arrested was Carlos Ramon Castro-Rocha, the suspected leader of the Castro-Rocha drug trafficking organization, authorities said.

The crackdown by federal agents and police targeted networks that distributed cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana in the U.S.,  and returned with cash and weapons, authorities said.

In all, “Project Deliverance” resulted in the seizure of approximately $154 million in U.S. currency, about 1,262 pounds of methamphetamine, 2.5 tons of cocaine, 1,410 pounds of heroin, 69 tons of marijuana, 501 weapons and 527 vehicles, the Justice Department said.

“This operation has struck a significant blow against the cartels, but make no mistake: we know that as successful as this operation was, it was just one battle in what is an ongoing war,” said Attorney General Eric Holder Jr.

“These dangerous cartels will continue to attempt to wreak havoc on both sides of the border, and we will continue to target them with every resource available to the federal government and our state and local partners,” he said.

DEA's Michele Leonhart,  Atty. Gen. Holder and FBI's Kevin Perkins at press confernce/doj photo

DEA's Michele Leonhart, Atty. Gen. Holder and FBI's Kevin Perkins at press confernce/doj photo

On Wednesday, as part of the crackdown, about 3,000 agents and officers fanned out across 16 states and arrested 429 people, the Justice Department said.  The agents and officers also seized 90 pounds of heroin, more than 2,900 pounds of marijuana and and $5 million in U.S. currency.

Holder said the agencies involved included DEA, FBI, ICE, IRS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Marshals Service and ATF and  attorneys from the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section.

“The progress we have announced today would not be possible without the assistance of our partners in the Mexican government, who are waging a courageous battle against drug cartels within their own borders,” Holder said. “We applaud their efforts, and we will continue to stand by them and work with them.

Michele Leonhart, acting Administrator for the DEA, said in a statement: “The stakes are extraordinarily high, and this massive operation is a milestone in our tireless assault on these violent drug cartels.”


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