U.S. Drug Smuggling Investigation Deals Blow to Cartels

Top U.S. officials say they've dealt a serious blow to Mexican drug cartels with a two-year operation called project deliverance. It involved agents with the DEA, IRS and Immigration and Customs. Bill Stamps has more.
U.S. Attorney Jose Moreno U.S. Attorney Jose Moreno announced the indictments of 58 people for smuggling drugs into the U.S. from Mexico. Most are Texas residents with ties to major drug cartels in Mexico.

"Approximately 600 kilos of cocaine have been seized; about 31 thousand pounds of marijuana, and approximately five-million dollars that was destined for Mexico has been seized."

They also seized four vehicles, more than a million dollars in real estate and they're in the process of seizing five bank accounts. Zoran Yankovich is with the DEA.

"This is a huge project as far as the amount of drugs that has been seized and the amount of money that has been seized. It certainly has dealt a blow to the cartels, because as you know the money that goes back recapitalizes their ability to produce drugs and get it back to the United States."


Zoran Yankkovich is with the DEAIn the war on drugs, much as been said about the alleged corruption or Mexican officials, but this investigation found at least one corrupt U.S. official.

"Our agents uncovered evidence that the Sullivan City Texas chief of police was collaborating with and aiding these criminal enterprises. He has been arrested. Sullivan City is located near the banks of the Rio Grande River in western Hidalgo County."

The multi-agency crackdown also involved the IRS. Even when they don't stop drugs from coming across the border, they're often able to go after the money the drugs bring in. This is agent Rodney Clark with the IRS's Criminal Division.

"Depriving the criminals of their criminal assets hits them where it hurts most and that is they lose the product or the profit of their illicit operation."


Many Americans are worried about the possibility of the Mexican Drug Cartels taking bringing their violence across the border. While almost all of the men under indictment are Texas residents, officials say that's because they targeted the transportation aspect of drug smuggling and those arrested are people who help get the drugs into the U.S..

As for when the cartel violence will end, U.S. Attorney Moreno said he doesn't know, but he says doing so will mean more cooperation between law enforcement agencies on both sides of the border.