Police in Tempe, Arizona scored a huge victory over the weekend when they picked apart a drug trafficking cell from Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel, capturing three tons of marijuana and 30 pounds of methamphetamine. Authorities also managed to seize $2.4 million in cash while making 20 arrests.
The drug bust operation took six-months to complete and involved the help of Tempe police and members of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
Also seized during the raids were an airplane, 10 vehicles and 14 firearms.
The cartel was using Tempe as a hub for the delivery of drugs to New York, Alabama, California and other high traffic drug states.
In a statement regarding the arrested Tempe Police Chief Tom Ryff said:
“This operation demonstrated a collaborative effort by state and federal law enforcement agencies.”
According to DEA Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman:
“”Operation Nayarit Stampede” marks an end to an extensive poly drug trafficking organization that stretched across the Mexico border and into Arizona and beyond.”
The drug bust while a nice victory for police and the DEA is only a small chunk of the Sinaloa Cartel’s overall operation. In March 2012 Forbes magazine placed cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera on its list of the world’s most influential people with an estimated net worth of $1 billion.
Loera’s operations extend through much of Mexico and the United States. A recent report suggests that officials in Mexico have talked to the cartel leader about potentially giving him control of the drug market in an attempt to slow the spread of violent cartel murders throughout Mexico. Officials have denied any involvement in the cartel’s operations at this time.