Hundreds arrested in international drug raid

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Federal agents have arrested 268 people and seized cocaine, marijuana and cash in an effort to break up a smuggling operation that brought narcotics from Colombia to at least a dozen U.S. cities.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, working with several other law enforcement agencies and authorities in Mexico and Colombia, arrested 83 people Wednesday. Previously, 185 were arrested as part of a crackdown called "Operation Marquis."

Joseph Keefe, the DEA’s chief of operations, described the bust as one of the largest of its kind.

Arrests were conducted simultaneously during the early morning in 16 cities, the DEA said. It said that provisional arrest warrants naming 14 suspects in Mexico were being submitted to Mexican authorities.

Keefe said the multiagency operation has crippled a drug trafficking organization run by the brother of drug lord Amado Carrillo-Fuentes, who died in 1997 after a botched plastic surgery.

Vincente Carrillo-Fuentes, Jose Albino Quintero-Meraz and suspected drug kingpin Alcides Ramon Magana, arrested in the Gulf Coast state of Tabasco earlier this month, are alleged to be the central players in the smuggling operation, Keefe said.

During the year-and-a-half investigation, agents seized 9,000 kilograms of cocaine, 28,000 pounds of marijuana and $12.5 million in cash.

DEA officials said drugs from Colombia were trucked or flown to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, on the U.S. border. In some cases, officials said, the smugglers used special radar-evading planes.

From Nuevo Laredo, they said, the drugs were smuggled into the United States, either in covert compartments on trucks or cars passing through a commercial border crossing in Laredo, Texas, or by individuals coming across the border into Texas.

The drugs were then stored in local warehouses before being distributed to cities across the United States, DEA officials said.

It said the organization shipped the drugs in tractor-trailers, with the narcotics concealed by cover loads of produce, and said cars with concealed compartments also were used.

Arrests were made or planned in Laredo, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas and Austin, Texas; Little Rock, Ark.; New York; Newark, N.J.; Charlotte, N.C.; Cleveland; St. Louis; San Diego; Philadelphia; Baltimore; Nashville and Memphis, Tenn.

Copyright ©2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Two snowboarders head up the mountain in a lift chair on the opening day of ski season at Stevens Pass Ski Area on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022, near Skykomish, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Ski season delayed at Stevens Pass due to minimal snow

Resort originally planned to open Dec. 1. But staff are hopeful this week’s snow will allow guests to hit the slopes soon.

Siblings Qingyun, left, and Ruoyun Li, 12 and 13, respectively, are together on campus at Everett Community College on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023, in Everett, Washington. The two are taking a full course load at the community college this semester. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Siblings, age 12 and 13, are youngest students at EvCC campus

Qingyun Li was 11 when he scored a perfect 36 on the ACT test. His sister, Ruoyun, was one point away.

Edmond’s newly elected mayor Mike Rosen on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Mayor-elect Rosen wants to ‘make Edmonds politics boring again’

Mike Rosen handily defeated incumbent Mayor Mike Nelson. He talked with The Herald about how he wants to gather the “full input” of residents.

A speed camera facing west along 220th Street Southwest on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Traffic cameras, and tickets, come to Edmonds; Mukilteo could be next

New school zone cameras in Edmonds will begin operating in January. Mukilteo is considering enforcement cameras as well.

A person walks their dog along a flooded Old Snohomish Monroe Road on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Flood-resistant floors and sandbags are price of riverside life in Sultan

Flooding is a threat every year for 75,000 locals — and the long-term forecast suggests it’ll only get worse in the coming decades.

Everett Community College is introducing a new Trojan design as the college's symbol of student spirit and athletics. The design incorporates the Feather Star, EvCC's official logo, in the Trojan's cape.  (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Amid staffing crisis, student nurses run into shortages in education too

Everett Community College’s nursing program has 79 slots. Hundreds apply each year — and that’s just the first hurdle.

A family walks through the Wintertide lights Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, at Legion Park in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Wintertide Lights returns for the month of December in Everett

The free family event is open nightly at Evergreen Arboretum and Gardens in Legion Park.

Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell speaks during a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the 196th ST SW Improvement Project near the 196th and 44th Ave West intersection in Lynnwood, Washington on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Jarred by anti-Semitic rants, Lynnwood council approves tax increase

Three people spewed hate speech via Zoom at a council meeting this week. Then, the council moved on to regular business.

From the patrol car footage of Everett police officer Ryan Greely, Molly Wright sits in the back of a police car after being arrested for obstructing a law enforcement officer on Aug. 10, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Screenshot from a video provided by Molly Wright)
‘My rights were violated’: Everett officer arrests woman filming him

Ryan Greely arrested Molly Wright in August on charges of obstructing, though state law generally allows filming police in public.

The Days Inn on Everett Mall Way, which Snohomish County is set to purchase and convert into emergency housing, is seen Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Over $130M for affordable housing set to be approved by County Council

The five-year investment plan of the 0.1% sales tax aims to construct 550 new affordable units.

Man killed in Highway 99 crash near Lynnwood identified

Brian Paulin, 32, lost control while driving on Lincoln Way and Highway 99.

The county canvassing board certifies election results at the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office in Everett, Washington on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
General election results stamped official by canvassing board

In Snohomish County, one hand recount will take place. Officials said ballot challenges were down this year.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.