Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Major Gulf Cartel Bust

The Dallas News Crime Blog brings welcome news that:
A 15-month investigation cracking down on one of Mexico's largest drug cartels resulted in the arrests of 175 suspects yesterday and today, 22 of them in North Texas.

So far, Project Reckoning has led to more than 500 arrests and the seizure of $60 million and more than 40 tons of drugs, U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey announced today.

Those indicted include three alleged leaders of the Gulf cartel: Ezequiel Cardenas-Guillen, Heriberto Lazcano-Lazcano (right) and Jorge Eduardo Costilla-Sanchez. ...

The international investigation was centered in Atlanta, but attorneys in the Northern District of Texas are handling some of the cases. More details on the local efforts to come.
One wonders if these North Texas arrests are related in any way to the Gulf Cartel snitch found working in a Collin County constable's office earlier this year?

Today's arrests also contained an Italian connection. According to the USDOJ press release:
Today’s operation also involved significant cooperation from Italy, for which I thank Dr. Gratteri. Among those charged in today’s indictments are members of an organized crime group based in Calabria, Italy, who allegedly sold cocaine supplied by the Gulf Cartel via New York. The Italian government’s firm commitment to combat drug trafficking is evident in the success of this operation.
I remain convinced that these multinational smuggling operations are a greater threat to US security than any Muslim terrorist, certainly for us here in Texas. The cartels have gone far beyond drugs to smuggling every type of black market contraband from crop pickers to sex workers to Asian porn, stolen cigarettes and anything else someone wants to sneak across the border.

It remains to be seen what kind of dent this makes in Gulf Cartel operations or whether their competitors move in to take over their turf.


Anonymous said...

Legaliztaion would instantly eliminate the drug smuggling problem.

Robert Langham said...

But for the CIA crashed planes full of coke, nada. That fix is still in.

Anonymous said...


So far, Project Reckoning has led to more than 500 arrests and the seizure of $60 million and more than 40 tons of drugs...

From last year:

Recently, the Coast Guard set a record for the most cocaine removed for the first quarter of a fiscal year. From Oct. 1, 2006, until Jan.1, 2007, the Coast Guard removed 97,635 pounds of the drug, eclipsing the previous high of 76,925 pounds set during the first quarter of last year.

The cocaine seized to date in fiscal year 2007 exceeds the yearly totals of all but three of the last 15 fiscal years.
(Emphasis mine -k.)

97,635 = 48.8175 TONS
76,925 = 38.4625 TONS

It used to be pounds. Then it became hundreds of pounds. Then thousands. Then it became one ton. Two tons. Five tons. And then it became tens of tons. And then scores of tons. And yet more is in the pipeline.

How many more (increasingly larger) amounts of illicit drugs will be interdicted before the fact that the tonnage (remember when it was just pounds?) interdicted is still going up, while the price and quality remain stable becomes embarrassingly common knowledge?

How long before some lazy media type gets tired of eating and excreting processed sound-bites from DrugWar bureaucrats and asks the obvious question of how useful the (horrendously expensive) DrugWar is when the amounts of dope interdicted keep climbing but the price and quality stay the same?

Einstein is supposed to have said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result when none is possible. In this case, calling it insane is being unjustifiably generous...

Anonymous said...

Hey Grits,

Any idea how many of these defendants are in the country illegally and have detainers placed on them by ICE?

Another thing, if any of them are here illegally, any way to find out if they had previously been deported?