Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Feds Arrest 12 Tied to Mexican Drug Cartel

By Phil Benson and Lindsey Reiser

Federal authorities said 12 people have been arrested and more than 220 pounds of drugs seized as part of an eight-month investigation into drug trafficking in Arizona.

"Operation Smoke in Glass" targeted a large-scale drug trafficking organization linked to Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel. Authorities said the cartel has been smuggling large amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin from Mexicali and Sonoita up to Arizona's Maricopa County since 2009.

Authorities said the organization used backpackers to transport the drug loads across the Arizona-Mexico border. The drugs were stored in various stash houses located in west Phoenix and then distributed to various locations in western and midwestern states.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officials said nine simultaneous search warrants on suspected stash houses were conducted Wednesday and more arrests in the case are anticipated.

The Glendale Police Department's Special Investigations Unit also assisted in the operation. More than 50 agents and officers participated.

"Operation Smoke in Glass" has so far resulted in the seizure of 128 pounds of methamphetamine, 33 kilograms of cocaine and 10 pounds of heroin, with a total street value of more than $2.2 million. Agents also seized close to $300,000 in U.S. currency.

We talked to neighbors at the homes raided today in west Phoenix. Some of them explained to us what they saw and heard, but others were too scared because of a connection to a Mexican drug cartel.

"It was shocking because we were just on our way to school and just saw a whole bunch of SWAT teams," said Alondra Arredondo, who has lived in her Phoenix neighborhood for six years.
"I thought this was a good neighborhood, you know," said a woman who wanted to be referred to as Maria. She was scared to give us her name because of the cell's link to the Sinaloa cartel. But perhaps the most disturbing part?

"Unfortunately some homes had children and that is a great concern," said Drug Enforcement Administration representative Ramona Sanchez.

While we were filming one suspected stash house, some people inside came out. We asked them if they knew anything about this morning's raid, but they said they didn't. Now neighbors are keeping one eye open.

"I have never seen anything like that in my life, it was scary," Maria said.


  1. I don't find it any more disturbing to find kids at a stash house in phoenix then a drug ranch in Mexico..why does the media even pretend that thats an issue?

  2. No names given in any of the news stories of the arrested. That means the investigation is not over, yes?


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