US smashes 2-billion-dollar drug ring
Oct 31, 2011, 19:55 GMT
Los Angeles - US authorities have smashed a massive drug ring that made over 2 billion dollars by smuggling tons of marijuana, heroin and cocaine through the remote desert border region between Arizona and Mexico, officials said Monday.
The drug ring was linked to the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel run by Mexican criminal kingpin Joaquin Guzman, said officials. More than 20 agencies participated in the 17-month investigation, which led to the arrest of more than 70 suspects and constituted one of the largest drug busts in US history.
'Today we have dealt a significant blow to a Mexican criminal enterprise that has been responsible for poisoning our communities with the distribution of millions of dollars' worth of marijuana, cocaine and heroin,' said Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne.
Officials said the ring used backpackers and small vehicles to transport the contraband through the desert border region. It was then stored in several 'stash houses' in the Phoenix area, before it was sold to distributors from multiple states nationwide.
Officials estimated that the ring smuggled some 33 million dollars worth of drugs across the border every month for the past five years, including 1.5 million kilograms of marijuana, 9,000 kilograms of cocaine and 4,500 kilograms of heroin.
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