After a six-month investigation, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Arizona has arrested 20 members of a group connected to the Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel and working out of Tempe some 150 miles from the Mexican border.
Police also seized three tons of marijuana, 30 pounds of methamphetamines, US$2.4 million in cash, an airplane, 10 vehicles and 14 guns.
The arrests resulted from “Operation Nayarit Stampede,” authorities said Friday. The operation was aimed at an elaborate drug trafficking network that operated across the border between Mexico and Arizona.They said the Arizona group distributed drugs to Alabama, California, New York, and other states.
The arrests came days after the police announced they had arrested Anel Violeta Noriega Rios, an alleged top operative of the La Familia Cartel, also known as La Familia Michoacana (LFM) or Michoacan Cartel.
Nicknamed “The Queen of Crime,” Rios allegedly ran the drug smuggling operation for her cartel in California. The authorities also believe she served as La Familia’s contact person for the leaders of the Sinaloa cartel, such as Mexico’s most wanted drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.
According to the authorities, the Arizona group brought drugs into the US from Mexico in hidden compartments in commercial tractor trailers.