<b>La Familia cartel crackdown yields 35 arrests in Austin</b>

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<b>La Familia cartel crackdown yields 35 arrests in Austin</b>

I'm pleased to see some results of these drug sweeps with the ridiculous names.  It seems like a good 20 month span to me... Because of Austin's location, right in the middle of Texas, just 6 hours from the border, and loaded with kids, it is an obvious drug distribution point.

*The part in bold is a nationwide tally of these sweeps.

Authorities arrested 25 suspected members of the violent Mexican drug cartel La Familia in Central Texas on Wednesday, officials said, capping a 20-month series of investigations across the country.

The Drug Enforcement Administration on Thursday said the strike has significantly hurt the cartel in Austin, one of its major hubs.

"You can never get rid of them altogether, but you can dilute them to make them ineffective," said Greg Thrash, who heads the Drug Enforcement Agency's Austin office. Also in federal custody from the operation are 10 other suspected La Familia members in the Austin area who were arrested in the past several months.

In the second nationwide attack on La Familia, dubbed Project Delirium, 1,985 people were arrested, and officials seized $62 million in cash, 2,773 pounds of methamphetamine, 2,722 kilograms of cocaine , 1,005 pounds of heroin, 14,818 pounds of marijuana and $3.8 million in other assets over 20 months, the DEA said.

The project was the result of information from the first La Familia bust, called Operation Coronado, the Department of Justice said in a news release. The 2009 project resulted in at least 1,186 arrests in 35 cities nationwide.

Four of those arrests were in Austin and Pflugerville. The outcomes of those cases, including sentences, is sealed, which might indicate that the defendants cooperated with authorities in subsequent investigations.

Wednesday's operation in Central Texas targeted 11 homes and involved hundreds of officers from 21 local, state and federal agencies. They seized about $150,000, several pounds of methamphetamine and several pounds of cocaine, Thrash said.

Officials said that among the arrests were four men who were in charge of autonomous cells in Austin that distributed drugs locally and to other states.

Though Thrash wouldn't say exactly how much cartel money passed through the Austin operation, he said millions of dollars went through specific houses in Austin each month.

Two La Familia leaders in Mexico are still at large, Thrash said, and U.S. officials are working with Mexican law enforcement to arrest them.

Thrash said La Familia uses Austin as a hub for selling drugs here and for distributing them to at least 11 states in the Midwest and southern United States. The cartel "utilized Austin and the surrounding areas as a command and control hub to operate the businesses on behalf of the Mexican bosses," Thrash said.

Officials detailed creative ways that the drugs and money were transported. About 30 kilograms of liquid methamphetamine was carried in Heineken mini kegs, and more than a kilogram of crystal methamphetamine was stored in a children's book that was shipped from Mexico to Austin using FedEx.

Austin police Chief of Staff David Carter said the collaborative effort is the wave of the future. "This specific organized crime threat has been addressed here in the Austin area due to the good work and effort of all the law enforcement agencies here working together: local, state and federal all working as one," he said.

fmashhood@statesman.com; 445-3972
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Re: <b>La Familia cartel crackdown yields 35 arrests in Austin</b>


this is incredible.

so the project Project Deliriium,  netted many arrests in mulitple states:(Texas, California, Georgia, Colorado, Alabama, Minnesota and New Mexico) This was similar to the first but by using info from the first they were able to enhance the bust.  I read they had cooperation from many states and foreign countries.  THAT is how it should be and this is how I have thought Mexico should pattern their busts, with info and strategy in cooperation with the US it could happen.  They need to make busts such as this, going after the middle layer in multiple cities, states, simultaneously to make a significant impact.

Thanks Wen
The way I see it.... the more people that don't like me, the less people I have to please