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31 linked to Mexican drug cartel arrested in Minnesota

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31 linked to Mexican drug cartel arrested in Minnesota

Post by North Star 1 on October 23rd 2009, 9:30 am

Raids against a Mexican cartel result in more than 300 arrests across the U.S., including the Twin Cities.

By JAMES WALSH, Star Tribune
Last update: October 22, 2009 - 11:37 PM

It is one of the newest of the Mexican drug cartels. But already, La Familia has been linked to a wave of intimidation and bloodshed that includes thousands of killings and even beheadings.

On Thursday, local and national investigators struck back.

In what officials are calling the largest single strike at Mexican drug operations in the United States, the Justice Department announced the arrests of more than 300 people in raids across the country. In Minnesota, 31 people were arrested.

U.S. officials said the La Familia cartel, based in southwestern Mexico, has a vast network pumping drugs throughout the United States and specializes in methamphetamine.

The arrests took place in 38 cities -- from St. Paul to Tampa, Fla. -- in 19 states. The operation included local and federal law enforcement officers, including the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Special Agent E.K. Wilson of the Minneapolis FBI office confirmed that agents here played an integral role.

"This was a DEA-led national operation. But the FBI here in Minneapolis is proud to have played a role in dealing a crushing blow to a violent drug-trafficking organization like La Familia," Wilson said.

DEA spokesman Will Taylor in Chicago said he cannot say much about the arrests until grand jury indictments are unsealed in the next few days. But he said many of the arrests occurred in the Twin Cities area and many of the suspects were arrested Wednesday.

Several drug-related indictments made public in Minneapolis Thursday involved the sale of methamphetamine or cocaine by local residents. Taylor said he could not confirm whether those cases are related to the La Familia operation.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Minneapolis also said he could give no more detail of the raids, dubbed Project Coronado.

The local arrests, however, show that La Familia has reached Minnesota. According to information from the Minneapolis office of the DEA, several Mexican drug cartels play a major role in supplying Minnesota's illegal drug trade.

In fact, Mexican drug traffickers control the transportation, distribution and bulk sales of cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine and black-tar heroin in the state.

Operations based in Mexico and operating in Texas, California, Arizona and Washington are sending large quantities of methamphetamine into Minnesota. According to the DEA, traffickers typically send 10- to 20-pound shipments to Minnesota, using commercial vehicles, passenger bus lines and private cars.

In April, investigators severed a high-volume cocaine pipeline between Texas and Minnesota that had ties to yet another of Mexico's major crime syndicates, a competitor of La Familia. Federal indictments charged 26 people in Minnesota and South Texas with drug trafficking.

Attorney General Eric Holder pledged to keep hitting La Familia and the cartels responsible for the bloodshed in Mexico.

"To the extent that they do grow back, we have to work with our Mexican counterparts to cut off the heads of these snakes, to get at the heads of the cartels, indict them, try them, if they're in Mexico, extradite them to the United States," Holder said at a news conference.

Cartel's power grew quickly

Michele Leonhart, who heads the DEA, said La Familia's power has grown quickly, in part due to its quasi-religious background. DEA officials say the cartel professes a "Robin Hood mentality" of aiding the poor by stealing from the rich. Some drug proceeds are used to give Bibles and money to the poor, according to investigators.

The Obama administration has directed more resources to fight the cartel's presence along the Mexico-U.S. border. But this week's arrests occurred far beyond that region.

On Wednesday and Thursday, more than 3,000 federal agents and police officers carried out arrests as part of a long-running effort that has netted nearly 1,200 arrests over almost four years.

In the latest legal assault on La Familia, a New York grand jury indicted an alleged cartel leader, Servando Gomez-Martinez. He is linked to one of the more brazen acts of violence. In July, after a dozen Mexican police officers were found murdered, officials say Gomez-Martinez publicly proclaimed his membership in La Familia and said the cartel was locked in battle with Mexican police.

States involved in the raids include Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Washington state.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. James Walsh • 612-673-7428
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Re: 31 linked to Mexican drug cartel arrested in Minnesota

Post by bluegill on October 23rd 2009, 10:28 am

I'm glad to hear they are finally starting to deal with this bullshit. Hopefully they will catch more and put them away for life also!~!
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Re: 31 linked to Mexican drug cartel arrested in Minnesota

Post by North Star 1 on October 23rd 2009, 10:32 am

Well the bad part is now, they made this public so it will be a while before they can raid them again, you can bet it's not going to be long and they will be up and running again.
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Re: 31 linked to Mexican drug cartel arrested in Minnesota

Post by bluegill on October 23rd 2009, 10:34 am

True there... I just hope that they keep on them and get them under control. They are so far out of control now, that they may never be able to get it under control......
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Re: 31 linked to Mexican drug cartel arrested in Minnesota

Post by richardcatdaddy on October 23rd 2009, 5:10 pm

tHEY NEWED TO BUST THEM IDIOTS EVERY DAMN TIME THEY GET THE CHANCE AND DONT DEPORT EM,SHOOT EM UP WITH THEIR OWN DOPE AND OD EM.
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