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DEA: 45 Mexican drug cartel suspects arrested in Atlanta

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Authorities also seize nearly $2.4 million in cash, the DEA says
  • The suspects are believed to belong to La Familia Michoacana drug cartel, authorities say

Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) -- Federal agents arrested 45 people in Georgia believed to be members of a top Mexican drug cartel and confiscated nearly $2.4 million in cash, authorities said Thursday.

The arrests were made by members of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, the Clayton County District Attorney's Office and other law enforcement agencies, the DEA said. The investigation, called Operation Choke Hold, started in May 2009.

The suspects are believed to be connected with La Familia Michoacana, which "was responsible for the importation of bulk quantities of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana into the metro Atlanta area," the DEA said.

In addition to distributing narcotics in metro Atlanta, the drug-trafficking organization also shipped large quantities to Florida, Alabama, Indiana, Illinois and North Carolina, the DEA said.

During the arrests, the DEA said in a release, authorities seized 46 pounds of methamphetamine, a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory, nearly 95 pounds (43 kilograms) of cocaine, 4,120 pounds of marijuana, 20 firearms and $2.349 million.

The La Familia Michoacana cartel is based in the state of Michoacan, in southwestern Mexico.