Temas Especiales

24 de Jul de 2021

Nacional

US raids target Mexican cartel

PANAMA. Mexican drug cartels have been hit hard by the United States’ Drug Enforcement Administration.

PANAMA. Mexican drug cartels have been hit hard by the United States’ Drug Enforcement Administration.

DEA Acting Administrator Michele Leonhart and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. recently announced the arrest of more than 750 individuals on narcotics-related charges and the seizure of more than 23 tons of narcotics as part of a 21-month multi-agency law enforcement investigation known as “Operation Xcellerator.”

Among the detained were 52 people arrested on Wednesday in California, Minnesota and Maryland in raids targeting the powerful Sinaloa cartel.

The 21-month operation involved US, Mexican and Canadian authorities.

A 2008 justice department report found Mexican traffickers were the biggest organized crime threat to the US.

Most of the cocaine available in the US is smuggled via the US-Mexican border, while Mexican drug traffickers control most of the US drug market.

Announcing the arrests, Mr Holder described the cartels as a threat to US national security.

"They are lucrative. They are violent. And they are operated with stunning planning and precision, " he said.

As well as 755 arrests, Operation Xcellerator led to the seizure of money totaling $59.1 million and 23 tons of narcotics, including 12,000 kg cocaine, 7,257 kg of marijuana, 544 kg of methamphetamines and 1.3 million Ecstasy pills. Additionally, 149 vehicles, three aircraft, 3 maritime vessels and 169 weapons were seized.

"We successfully concluded the largest and hardest hitting operation to ever target the very violent and dangerously powerful Sinaloa drug cartel," said Michele Leonhart, acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

“From Washington to Maine, we have disrupted this cartel’s domestic operations—arresting U.S. cell heads and stripping them of more than $59 million in cash — and seriously impacted their Canadian drug operations as well.

According to BBC news, she said the investigation had uncovered a "super meth lab that is so sophisticated that we've seen none like it anywhere" and drug factory machines able to produce 12,000 ecstasy tablets an hour.

US officials say that over the past two years the street price of cocaine has more than doubled and purity fallen.

The Sinaloa cartel is one of four main Mexican drug-trafficking gangs, the others being the Gulf cartel, the Tijuana cartel and the Juarez cartel.

Turf wars led to the deaths of some 6,000 people last year and Mexican media say so far this year there have been around 1,000 drug-related murders.

Mr Holder told reporters he was concerned that drug violence from Mexico could spill over to the US. "The problems that Mexico faces are also problems that we face," he said.

The US Congress has authorized the spending of $1.6 billion dollars to confront the threat of drug trafficking and organized crime from Mexico and Central America through the Merida Plan. So far, $197 million has been released for Mexico. The Plan assigns $19.8 million to Panama, which the Panamanian government does not deem enough to fight cartels that transport drugs through the country.