OCTOBER 30, 2008
A Texas deputy sheriff caught with nearly $1 million in cash stashed in his pickup is among dozens indicted for operating a violent Mexican drug cartel that brought in hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and marijuana into the U.S.
The multi million-dollar narcotics ring took advantage of a porous U.S.-Mexico border to smuggle large quantities of drugs that were later sold throughout the country for big profits. Federal authorities have confiscated about $22 million in cash, 223 kilograms of cocaine and more than 16,000 pounds of marijuana.
This week federal prosecutors in Atlanta unsealed three federal indictments charging 41 defendants in the drug distribution and money laundering ring they say operated in Georgia and Texas. Among those charged is an Hidalgo County (Texas) Sheriff’s deputy stopped for a traffic violation on a Georgia interstate.
The deputy, Emmanuel Sanchez, flashed his law enforcement badge to expedite the traffic stop questioning, but a Georgia State Patrol officer found $950,000 in cash hidden in the door and other areas of the deputy’s pickup truck.
Cases like these are the result of a dramatic rise in violence among sophisticated and heavily armed drug cartels along the Mexican border. A Homeland Security report published last year revealed that small-time smuggling operations have been replaced with heavily armed drug cartels run my Mexico’s notorious cocaine cartels.
A few months ago a government intelligence report revealed that Mexican drug cartels are buying arms from radical Islamic terrorists that they team up with to distribute narcotics in Europe and the Middle East. Published by the Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC), the report identifies terrorist groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, the Palestine Liberation Front and the Palestine Liberation Organization as Arab associates of Mexican drug-trafficking cartels. All are officially designated as terrorist organizations by the U.S. Department of State.
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