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U.S. arrests 678 people with alleged ties to Mexican drug business

By the CNN Wire Staff
Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton discusses the anti-drug operation.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton discusses the anti-drug operation.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Authorities arrest 678 with alleged ties to Mexican drug gangs in a three-month operation
  • The sweep also resulted in the arrests of 164 others on non-drug or immigration charges
  • Its the largest drug trafficking sweep led by U.S. Immigrations and Custom Enforcement
RELATED TOPICS

(CNN) -- Authorities across the United States have arrested 678 people with alleged ties to Mexican drug trafficking organizations in a three-month operation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency announced Tuesday.

Among those caught up in the sweep were 322 people with violent criminal histories, the agency said in a news release. They represent 133 gangs and 24 countries, it said.

The operation targeted transnational gangs, which the agency said include large numbers of foreign nationals as members and often are involved in human smuggling, identity theft, fraud, weapons trafficking and the drug trade.

"Like any street gang, these transnational gangs also have a propensity toward violence," according to the news release. "Their members committed a number of violent crimes including robbery, extortion, assault, rape and murder."

The sweep, called Project Southern Tempest, also resulted in the arrests of 164 other people for alleged nondrug violations or immigration violations, the agency said.

Authorities seized 86 guns, eight pounds of methamphetamine, 30 pounds of marijuana, a pound of cocaine, $70,000 in cash and two vehicles during the operation, which began in December and ended this month, the release said.

The operation is the largest led by the agency to target gangs with ties to drug trafficking, according to the release. It involved 173 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

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