Crime Trackers

Feb 1, 2012 7:27 PM

Feds take down members of a violent drug cartel

TUCSON - A major drug trafficking organization with ties to the most violent drug cartel in Mexico is busted. In the last 48 hours, federal agents swooped down and arrested some high level drug traffickers. They raided 9 homes in Naco, Bisbee, and Sierra Vista.

The Arizona Attorney General's office says the group has been in operation for 15 years. Their investigation began a year ago.

Nanette Morrow is prosecuting the case, she says, "We took off top level managers in this group."

Armed with a search warrants DEA AND ICE agents targeted a midtown house in Tucson. They arrested Maria Christina Rascon Ramirez. Investigators says she was allegedly responsible for handling the finances of the organization, an organization responsible for bringing in large quantities of marijuana, meth, and cocaine. Morrow says, " They did the mass numbers of people so they would run lots of people with smaller loads knowing we only had so much law enforcement."

Instead of transporting drugs in large quantities in a single shipment, the Rascon group used other methods. "They would use teenage kids they would body load onto themselves they would strap the drugs onto their body and walk across the port. And they would do 10 to 15 people at a time."

According to investigators' the main player, José Javier Rascon Ramirez works out of the plaza in Agua Prieta.

The drugs then head to Hipolito Avalos Ramirez who owns the 99 Cent store in Naco. The prosecutor says, "They would actually have it set up where they had bags in the back pick up the bags, put the dope into the bags leave it in a back room."

The drugs would be transported at a later time. As for the violence, "We would hear where it was time to take care of people what ended up happening a lot of this violence was done in Mexico not on the U.S. side. The prosecutor says they've made an impact in dismantling this organization. The message to drug cartels, even if it takes 15 years, they'll get you.

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