Mar 25, 2011 6:08 PM

Feds dismantle drug trafficking ring, indict 11

TUCSON - Federal authorities have indicted 11 people on drug trafficking charges and seized pounds of heroin, meth, cocaine and marijuana in the take down of an international drug trafficking ring.

According to a release from the U.S. Attorney's office, on Wednesday, agents from a multi-agency task force led by the Drug Enforcement Administration arrested three defendant in Phoenix and Rio Rico and seized 15 pounds of heroin, 14 pounds of methamphetamine, 1 kilogram of cocaine and 350 pounds of marijuana. As part of "operation: Charro Negro," seven other suspects were named in the federal indictment - they have warrants for their arrest and remain at large

"These indictments struck to the heart of a highly dangerous Mexican drug trafficking organization responsible for poisoning our communities with major amounts of heroin, meth, cocaine and marijuana," said U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke. "Because of a strong cooperative effort by law enforcement, this ring has been broken and their ill-gotten cargo is off the streets."

"Operation Charro Negro dealt a major blow to a significant poly-drug trafficking organization whose tentacles stretched across northern Mexico to the neighboring cities of Arizona," said DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman. "By dismantling this group, DEA and our partners have removed large quantities of drugs and powerful weapons off our streets. Law enforcement is at its best when we combine our assets, unite and stand strong against those who try to poison our communities."

According to the attorney's office, the three suspects in federal custody are Agustin De La Rosa-Acosta, Gustavo Aron Lopez, Oscan Ivan Valdes-Espinosa and Abraham Patricio Lugo-Ruelas. They have been charged with 12 counts, including Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Heroin, Methamphetamine, Cocaine and Marijuana. Conviction for these counts would carry a maximum penalty of life in prison, and a fine of up to $4 million.

U.S. Attorneys say the seven other suspects named in the federal indictment are: Oscar Castro-Gonzalez, Cruz Javalera-Heredia, Holme Soto-Salazar, Sergio Romero-Duarte, Miriam Selene Araujo-Mendoza, Omar Francisco Quevedo, and Marco Antonio Mendoza-Contreras.


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