ad info




CNN.com
 MAIN PAGE
 WORLD
 ASIANOW
 U.S.
 LOCAL
 POLITICS
 WEATHER
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 TECHNOLOGY
 NATURE
 ENTERTAINMENT
 BOOKS
 TRAVEL
 FOOD
 HEALTH
 STYLE
 IN-DEPTH

 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 CNN programs
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

  CNN WEB SITES:
CNN Websites
 TIME INC. SITES:
 MORE SERVICES:
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines
 pointcast
 pagenet

 DISCUSSION:
 message boards
 chat
 feedback

 SITE GUIDES:
 help
 contents
 search

 FASTER ACCESS:
 europe
 japan

 WEB SERVICES:
US

Feds bust international drug trafficking ring

graphic
 

August 17, 1999
Web posted at: 5:36 p.m. EDT (2136 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Federal authorities Tuesday announced the nationwide bust of a "major" drug trafficking network, arresting 70 people and seizing millions of dollars in cash, drugs and luxury cars.

The federal action involved arrests in numerous states and drug raids in more than 10 cities late Monday and early Tuesday, officials with the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration told reporters.

The FBI said 14 kilos (30.8 pounds) of cocaine, two Ferraris and seven weapons were seized in the raids, part of "Operation Southwest Express."

During a related yearlong investigation, authorities seized more than 2,700 kilos (5,940 pounds) of cocaine, 1,800 kilos (3,960 pounds) of marijuana, and $1.1 million in U.S. currency, according to Tom Pickard, assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division.

"This organization embraced the American corporate ideal and would sell any drug that would turn a profit," he said.

The FBI said the group used cars, tractor trailers and railway systems to transport the cocaine and marijuana to major U.S. cities.

The trafficking organization smuggled drugs from Mexico into San Diego and El Paso, Texas, and shipped them to seven regional distribution centers: Houston, New York City, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Cleveland and Nashville, Tennessee.

Officials say seizures took place in Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas.

The arrests included that of San Diego-based Omar Rocha Sota, the suspected ring leader of the drug organization, Pickard said.

Pickard said the drug shipments came in through Mexico from Colombia and elsewhere in Latin America and were sold to criminal organizations of various ethnic groups.

Authorities have arrest warrants for 28 additional suspects on charges of narcotics, money laundering or racketeering. More arrests were taking place in San Diego, Houston, Boston, Philadelphia and Albany, New York, sources told CNN.



RELATED STORIES:
McCaffrey: Anti-drug campaign's success greater than expected
August 2, 1999
Colombia welcomes U.S. help with drugs
July 27, 1999

RELATED SITES:
Office of National Drug Control Policy
Federal Bureau of Investigation - FBI Home Page
DEA - Home Page
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

 LATEST HEADLINES:
SEARCH CNN.com
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.