Over 70 people have been arrested in raids that broke up a narcotics trafficking ring suspected of smuggling nearly $2 billion worth of drugs through Arizona, Reuters reports.
The drug bust ends a 17-month investigation culminating in a series of three “large-scale enforcement actions,” Reuters reports. The arrests included both Mexican and American suspects. All suspects arrested were linked to the Sinaloa cartel run by Joaquín Guzmán, Mexico’s richest and most wanted outlaw, who goes by the nickname El Chapo, the New York Times reports.
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Federal, state and local law enforcement officials seized 3 million pounds of marijuana, 20,000 pounds of cocaine and 10,000 pounds of heroin in the U.S., the NY Times reports. Weapons and ammunition were also confiscated, CNN reports. Authorities admitted the billion-dollar smuggling ring took place right under their noses.
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Drugs were carried across the border in relatively small quantities and then transported to a network of stash houses near Phoenix, NY Times reports.
Still, authorities did not call the take down a victory.
“I expect there will be a shift,” said Matthew Allen, special agent in charge of Arizona for the Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, NY Times reports. “One investigation is not going to put them out of business. We have to continually adapt.”
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