The Sinaloa drug cartel recently suffered what local law enforcement agencies are considering a "significant blow" -- a 15-month investigation has led to the arrest of more than 200 people, the seizure of hundreds of pounds of various drugs, and close to $8 million in cash.
Just how "significant" a blow the bust really is is debatable (more on that below).
The Tempe Police Department, in collaboration with the Phoenix DEA Strike Force Group, "were able to dismantle and take down an extensive trafficking cell" they say is connected to the Mexico-based cartel.
"These drug traffickers are conducting a dirty business," Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne says. "Their customers are both adults and children, their products are poison, and their profits enrich Mexican drug lords enabling them to continue this cycle of criminality, abuse and death."
According to Tempe police, the investigation, known as "Operation Crank Call," started after a Tempe police officer busted up a drug deal while on routine patrol. One of the two men busted was found to be delivery boy for the cartel, dropping off drugs to buyers in Tempe, Phoenix, and other Valley cities.
The investigation led to the following:
*43 search warrants.
*The seizure of 44 firearms.
*The seizure of $7.8 million in cash.
*The seizure of 650 pounds of weed.
*The seizure of 435 pounds of meth.
*The seizure of 123 pounds of cocaine.
*The seizure of 4.5 pounds of heroin.
"It is frankly an obscene amount of drugs and money that have been taken off the streets, and those numbers reflect the horrific scope of the drug trafficking problem in our community," Horne continues.
The law enforcement agencies involved in the bust spent this morning patting themselves on the back for the "blow" they dealt to what many consider to be the most powerful drug cartel in the world.
The cartel suffered another "significant blow" a few years ago, when the federal government conducted "Operation Xcellerator," which led to the arrest of 750 cartel members, and the seizure of $59 million.
The Sinaloa Cartel is run by Joaquin Guzman Loera, who is currently the FBI and Interpol's "Most Wanted" fugitive. In addition to being the most wanted man on the planet, Guzman Loera has also made Forbes list of the most powerful people in the world every year since 2009. He's a billionaire who's also listed as the tenth richest man in Mexico, heading a cartel that's moved more than 200 tons of cocaine in the last 20 years.
In other words, $7.8 million and a few hundred pounds of drugs isn't gonna make or break the Sinaloa Drug Cartel.
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