Friday, December 7, 2012

DEA ends 30 month drug operation with 3,780 arrests

Cartel connected gangs distributing on U.S. soil were a target of "Operación Debajo de la Cintura"

Guadalajara -
The United States Drug Enforcement Administration today announced in Washington the conclusion of a 30 month undercover operation which yielded 3,780 arrests and the seizure of tons of narcotics on U.S. and foreign streets.

Operation "Below the Belt" (translated by some news sources as "Below the Beltway") was launched in May 2010 in 79 cities in the United States, Mexico, Central America and Europe according to the DEA's press release this morning.

Police forces in various countries worked with DEA during the prolonged covert operation.

During the 30 month project authorities seized six tons of cocaine, 4.5 tons of methamphetamine, 734 kilos (1,618 pounds) of heroine, 150 tons of marijuana and more than $148 million dollars in cash.

"We continue taking steps, via coordinated and aggressive law enforcement operations, to weaken drug cartels and their (local) associates," said DEA. The primary targets of Below the Belt were the Sinaloa and Juárez Cartels, and in the U.S. their street distributors (Mexican narcos hard at work in 1,000 U.S. cities).

"These organized crime groups are international in scope, and operate without regard for national boundaries (In drug war, national sovereignty is little more than antiquated theory). Our investigations both in the United States and abroad will proceed, focusing on illegal activities wherever they occur. This operation would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of our local, federal and foreign partners," the DEA statement said.

Experts on both sides of the border have predicted that Mexico's cartels, which are locked in a bitter six year old war with government security forces, will increasingly turn over narcotics sales and distribution operations to powerful street gangs in both countries (Mexican super gangs will present big challenge for Enrique Peña Nieto; Mexican drug cartels will likely morph into "super gangs," says U.S. security firm).

At least 60,000 persons have died in the drug war. Mexico's government claims that over 90% of the victims have been narcotics traffickers and those involved with affiliated organized crime activities.

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