Dozens of Alleged Members of a Sinaloa Cartel-linked Drug Dealing Network Arrested 

Drugs and guns found in the operation. Photo: Justice Department.

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department charged 47 alleged members of a Sinaloa Cartel-linked drug dealing network in Imperial Valley, Calif., as part of a long-term investigation Wednesday. 

Among those arrested was Alexander Grindley, a Border Patrol agent accused of trafficking methamphetamine. 

More than 400 federal, state and local law enforcement officers arrested 36 suspects and executed 25 search warrants in Imperial County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Fresno, Phoenix, and Salem, Oregon. 

As of Wednesday afternoon, law enforcement was still searching for 11 fugitives. 

Authorities confiscated more than four kilograms of fentanyl, which has the potential to kill about two million people, the DOJ said in a news release. They also seized nearly 715 pounds of methamphetamine, “significant quantities” of cocaine and heroin, and 52 firearms. 

The suspects are accused of drug trafficking, money laundering and gun-related offenses. 

“With this takedown, the Justice Department has dealt yet another blow to the Sinaloa Cartel and its associates,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. “I am grateful to the more than 400 law enforcement officers whose work in this operation resulted in dozens of arrests, charges against 47 defendants, and the seizure of firearms, meth, cocaine, heroin, and two million potentially lethal doses of fentanyl. We will continue to be relentless in our fight to protect American communities from the cartels.”

Fentanyl deaths continue to rise in the U.S. In Imperial County, at least 24 people died of opioid-related deaths in 2022, a 41% increase over 2021. 

“The Department of Homeland Security and our federal, state, and local partners are unrelenting in our work to keep deadly fentanyl off our streets and bring those who traffic in it to justice,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas said. “The indictments unsealed today are the direct result of our multipronged and coordinated law enforcement approach — one that utilizes all of our government’s resources and capabilities. Together, we are preventing fentanyl and other deadly drugs from being produced, distributed, or consumed, and saving countless lives.” 

Authorities said the crackdown demonstrates how well joint investigations work.  

“This operation shows what can be accomplished when there is collaboration between federal and local law enforcement agencies,” Imperial County District Attorney George Marquez. “The Imperial County District Attorney’s office will continue to work together with our partners to bring to justice those that harm or are a danger to our community.”

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