70 arrested in Arizona, drug smugglers for Sinaloa cartel

Guns, marijuana and cocaine seized during Operation Pipeline Express
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

At least 70 suspected drug smugglers with alleged ties to the powerful Sinaloa cartel have been arrested in Arizona, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

The massive take-down of the drug trafficking network in Arizona included arrests of Mexican and U.S. suspects who allegedly smuggled more than 330 tons of illegal narcotics a year through Arizona.

More than 20 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies were involved in the 17-month multiagency investigation called Operation Pipeline Express. Speaking at a news conference Monday in Phoenix, law enforcement officials said the organization was responsible for smuggling more than $33 million worth of drugs a month…

Officials say the ring, organized around cells based in the Arizona communities of Chandler, Stanfield and Maricopa, used backpackers and vehicles to move loads of marijuana and other drugs from the Arizona-Mexico border to a network of “stash” houses in the Phoenix area. After arriving in Phoenix, the contraband was sold to distributors from multiple states nationwide.

Law enforcement officials seized thousands of pounds of marijuana, cocaine and heroin in a series of raids. They also seized more than 100 weapons, including multiple assault rifles and ammunition.

Authorities say the organization has been around for at least five years. According to a news release, officials say they “conservatively estimate the ring has smuggled more than 3.3 million pounds of marijuana, 20,000 pounds of cocaine and 10,000 pounds of heroin into to the United States, generating almost $2 billion in illicit proceeds.”

Most folks who feel – as I do – that drug use should be decriminalized, managed through price-fixed clinics still have nothing but contempt for the slimy gangsters who run the import business for American habits and addiction.

Throw away the key.

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