Thursday, November 4, 2010

Operation Choke Hold: 45 Mexican Drug Cartel Suspects Arrested in Atlanta

Via CNN -

Federal agents arrested 45 people in Georgia believed to be members of a top Mexican drug cartel and confiscated nearly $2.4 million in cash, authorities said Thursday.

The arrests were made by members of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, the Clayton County District Attorney's Office and other law enforcement agencies, the DEA said. The investigation, called Operation Choke Hold, started in May 2009.

The suspects are believed to be connected with La Familia Michoacana, which "was responsible for the importation of bulk quantities of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana into the metro Atlanta area," the DEA said.

In addition to distributing narcotics in metro Atlanta, the drug-trafficking organization also shipped large quantities to Florida, Alabama, Indiana, Illinois and North Carolina, the DEA said.

During the arrests, the DEA said in a release, authorities seized 46 pounds of methamphetamine, a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory, nearly 95 pounds (43 kilograms) of cocaine, 4,120 pounds of marijuana, 20 firearms and $2.349 million.

The La Familia Michoacana cartel is based in the state of Michoacan, in southwestern Mexico.


On October 22, 2009, U.S. federal authorities announced the results of a four-year investigation into the operations of La Familia Michoacana in the United States dubbed Project Coronado. It was the largest U.S. raid ever against Mexican drug cartels operating in the U.S. In 19 different states, 303 individuals were taken into custody in a coordinated effort by local, state, and federal law enforcement over a two-day period. Seized during the arresting phase was over 62 kilograms (140 lb) of cocaine, 330 kilograms (730 lb) of methamphetamine, 440 kilograms (970 lb) of marijuana, 144 weapons, 109 vehicles, and two clandestine drug laboratories.

The investigative efforts in Project Coronado were coordinated by the multi-agency Special Operations Division, comprising agents and analysts from the DEA, FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Marshals Service and ATF, as well as attorneys from the Criminal Division's Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section.

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