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DEA And Cops Break Up California-To-Nebraska Meth Trafficking Ring Tied To Sinaloa Cartel

1.14.15 -Andrew O’Reilly, Fox News Latino

Over an 18-month period, agents at the Drug Enforcement Administration and law enforcement officers throughout Nebraska dismantled a methamphetamine trafficking ring tied to Mexico’s notorious Sinaloa drug cartel that shipped large amounts of the drug from California to Midwestern states.

What began in 2013 as an investigation into a mid-level drug dealer led to the arrest this week of at least 20 people along with the seizure of $35,000 and more than 12 lbs of methamphetamine. Authorities also found marijuana and illegal prescription drugs during their round-up.

While the seizure is far from the largest in U.S. history, both local law enforcement and the DEA hailed the effort as a major blow to the drug trafficking organization that operated throughout the Midwest and was responsible for crimes ranging from burglaries to murders.

“We totally dismantled the organization from the higher-ups in California to the criminal users in Omaha,” Mike Sanders, the assistant special agent in charge at the DEA’s Omaha office told Fox News Latino. “Not only did it take out the major players but also the low level criminals committing crimes in the community.”

Using a number of tactics – such as undercover officers, wire intercepts and controlled buys – law enforcement agents were able to build up a case against the traffickers and track the methamphetamine back to Sinaloa cartel associates operating in California. In September of 2014 investigators seized 5 lbs of methamphetamine transported from California to Omaha.

The Omaha bust highlights the continuing presence of Mexican drug trafficking organizations in the United States – and their expansion away from the border and major urban areas and into more rural regions.

Officials at the Drug Enforcement Administration said that the incursion of Mexican cartels and their proxy groups in the U.S. is nothing new. A Justice Department report from 2011 found that Mexican-based cartels were operating in more than 1,000 U.S. cities between 2009 and 2010 and have expanded from marijuana and cocaine trafficking to heroin and methamphetamine. Also, it noted they are taking part in human smuggling operations as well.

Read more here.