DEA gives outcome of sting aimed at cartels

U.S. officials said the Sinaloa and Juarez cartels are responsible for importing multi-ton quantities of narcotics, including cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine and heroin, from Mexico, and are suspected of laundering millions of dollars in criminal proceeds from drug trafficking activities.

Drug Enforcement Administration officials on Friday announced the results of Project Below the Beltway, a two-year series of investigations targeting the Sinaloa and Juárez drug cartels and their street gang allies as part of an initiative against the cartels and their U.S. distribution networks.

The overall results included 3,780 arrests, and the seizures of 13,448 pounds of cocaine, 10,284 pounds of methamphetamine, 1,619 pounds of heroin, 349,304 pounds of marijuana, $ 148 million in U.S. currency, and $ 38 million in other assets.

The project included investigations in 79 U.S. cities and several foreign cities in Central America, Europe, Mexico, South America and elsewhere.

In the West Texas and New Mexico region, DEA officials said, 53 people were arrested at numerous locations as part of Project Below the Beltway. Of those, 29 are being prosecuted federally, and 24 are being prosecuted in state courts. Some arrests also targeted distributors of synthetic drugs and people involved in diverting prescription drugs.

“Project Below the Beltway is another example of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in our region and across the country working together to strike a coordinated blow against criminal organizations,” said Joseph M. Arabit, special agent in charge of the DEA-El Paso Division.


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