Police in Tempe, Arizona, busted a large drug trafficking network in their hometown that is allegedly linked to the dangerous Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico, according to a recent report from the East Valley Tribune.
After an investigation that stretched for almost six months, local police and officials with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency announced this week that they arrest 20 different suspects, including alleged leaders of the network, Norberto Meza Montoya, Leonel Galvez and Jose Alonzo Rodriguez Rosas.
Sources say that the three alleged ringleaders of the network supervised the collection of drugs from South and Central America and the distribution of the drugs to every corner of the United States by their domestic traffickers.
When the drugs initially entered Arizona, they were usually hidden in secret compartments in commercial trucks, according to a DEA spokesman.
But trucks were not the only channel for the narcotics. Recently, federal officials seized a small Cessna aircraft that was allegedly used to fly drugs from Central and South America into Mexico and then to the United States.
All told, this particular organization allegedly sold drugs to customers in Alabama, California, New York, North Carolina and South Carolina, according to claims by local police.
And Tempe police Lt. Noah Johnson did not hesitate to celebrate the victory, claiming that they’d “cut off the head of the snake” and that the sting operation “definitely makes it a lot harder for our children and residents to get drugs.”
The arrests were part of a secret operation called “Operation Nayarit Stampede” which was intended to stop drug crimes that leak over the Mexican border into Arizona. Nayarit is the name of a Mexican state where the Sinaloa Cartel is headquartered.
During the operation, which involved at least 14 different searches of drug stash houses, police seized more than $2 million in cash, 30 pounds of methamphetamine, 14 weapons, 10 cars and a staggering three tons of marijuana.
Sources indicate that most of the people in the stash houses at the time of the raids were arrested, but some suspects were able to flee on foot. As a result, more arrests are expected as authorities hunt down the fugitives.
In order to spread their risk, the drug traffickers apparently stored their drugs at a number of different locations in the Tempe area. In addition, there was very little communication between the American and Mexican drug runners, which made it more difficult for authorities for connect the two.