DEA nabs nearly 2,000 in cartel crackdown
Jose de Jesus Mendez Vargas, head of La Familia cartel, was arrested last month as part of a crackdown on the drug gang.
July 22nd, 2011
08:00 AM ET

DEA nabs nearly 2,000 in cartel crackdown

The Drug Enforcement Administration arrested nearly 2,000 people in the United States as part of a 20-month strike against Mexico's La Familia Michoacana cartel, law enforcement officials said.

In a statement Thursday, DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart said the strike, called Project Deliriium, netted 1,985 arrests and $62 million in a blow to the notorious cartel.

Dozens of arrests occurred in several states, including Texas, California, Georgia, Colorado, Alabama, Minnesota and New Mexico.

“Project Delirium is the second successful, strategic and surgical strike to disrupt and destroy one of the most violent Mexican cartels, La Familia,” Leonhart said.

Authorities also seized a sizable stash of drugs, including 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, the statement said.

The crackdown marks a strengthened effort by DEA and Mexican law enforcement officials to collaborate on a major drug trafficking organization, authorities said.

“Law enforcement officials here in the U.S., in Mexico and all around the world are cooperating at unprecedented levels. There is a willingness like never before to work hand in hand to fight the cartels, the criminal enterprises and the violent gangs that threaten the peace and security of people on both sides of the border,” said John Morton, director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in the statement.

Project Delirium and before it, Project Coronado, were part of a sustained strike against La Familia, which has seen its leadership structure decimated over the past several months by high-profile arrests.

Last month, Mexican authorities arrested La Familia leader Jose de Jesus Mendez-Vargas, aka "El Chango" or "the Monkey."

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Filed under: Crime • Justice • U.S.
soundoff (357 Responses)
  1. psahni

    Great bust but there's no way the govt just lets that go to waste. I bet you they put it back on the streets to make a profit themselves.

    July 24, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. BlueSky

    Illegal drug may eliminate inferior people, which saves limited resource on earth.

    July 24, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Study Cannabis

    Great, so now there's 2,000 job openings for drug trafficking. Way to help lower the unemployment rate!! The sad truth is most of these people are probably low-level citizens doing bad things, and selling drugs. And they'll be packed in prisons and ,fairly often, swiftly released. This method of controlling substance abuse ensures the DOJ budget received is much higher!

    July 25, 2011 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
  4. Study Cannabis

    Way-to-go DEA for effectively boasting to the media, and public, to benefit your tightly restricted viewpoints. Another win for the American people! Hooray! Like water is to plants, supply is to demand.

    July 25, 2011 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
  5. LionsPaw

    A woman in my apartment complex was arrested in part of this bust here in Texas.. I'm glad they are rounding them all up,, but sadlly as others have posted it is a supply and demand issue and users will find another way.

    July 25, 2011 at 4:58 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jose

    Educate, Regulate, Legislate and not incarcerate. I wonder if drugs were decriminalized would this even be a story?

    July 25, 2011 at 5:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. yardbarker

    That's about enough illegal drugs to keep a small state supplied fot about a day

    July 25, 2011 at 6:49 am | Report abuse |
    • SLamminsam

      Once again, this will not make a dent in the supply. But, it will make money for DEA agents, lawyers and judges. And the beat goes on...............Someone is winning the drug war.

      July 25, 2011 at 7:30 am | Report abuse |
  8. Smackme420

    As far as the hard drugs go, I am glad that THIS seizure won't be on our streets, schools, or in the grubby little hands of our politicians, they need to clean up for a day or two and start making progress concerning the debt crisis. I can however say with certainty, these drugs will eventually make it to our cities because we need to continue to feed the WAR-MACHINE we created and it's insatiable hunger for more money. Only the profits from DRUG SALES can keep this monster well fed. As for the MARIJUANA, please drop a pound or two off at my house as I am running a little low...

    July 25, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
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