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. RON PAUL 2012!

    This is a serious propaganda attempt to cover up Owebama's authorization of Operation Fast & Furious!!!!

    When do the impeachment proceedings begin?

    July 22, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Barry

    I am extremely proud of the honest men and women at the DEA and other law enforcement agencies, who are working so hard and putting themselves at risk, in order to protect and keep society safe. I commend those of you who have resisted taking bribes and have risked harm and death, in order to keep society safe and to uphold the law.

    I am deeply ashamed of those parasites, who make their fortunes at the expense of others. I am ashamed of those who because of their greed and selfishness cause so much suffering, death and destruction, in order to prosper.

    And to those politicians and law enforcement members, who have allowed themselves to become corrupt and have sold their souls for thirty pieces of silver, your day is coming.

    Remember what happened to Judas!

    May God deal with you ever so severely for the evil you have and are doing!

    July 22, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • bruce

      Well said Barry.

      1900 bad guys off of our street is a HUGE difference. Only select individuals can operate a complex large scale operation.. These guys are in their 40s, and experienced. Pop them, and it's tough for some kid to get in the country, overcome the language barrier and maintain the connections necessary to run part of a cartel.

      Bust these key players, and it falls apart. Good job law enforcement.

      July 23, 2011 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  3. HUh?hahahah

    Not Impressed with anything pointless. No change possible with millions to be made and thousands ready to get in on the action. This is just another herdurr joke. Its really just a pathetic number when you consider the kinds of flows that they are getting no where with. The punchline is going to be the funniest part for all those brain washed, programmed anti-drug over moral wanna be goody to shoes that still have yet to get the apparent clue that they sooooo need.

    July 22, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. stan

    INDIA is a job stealing country. It is a country of thieves.

    July 22, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • illegitimate_lovechild

      Traffic is a drag. Bicycling is cheap.

      July 22, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Barry

    Dave in NM,

    Thank you for your comments.

    I realize that alcohol too is a drug, that alcohol can be terribly debilitating and destructive to the abuser, and that alcohol has similarities regarding its effects and how it operates on the central nervous system; however, the properties and effects of certain drugs–heroin, methamphetamine, etc.—pose risks that are even more serious and destructive.

    We all know that alcohol can be destructive—but there are other drugs that pose even greater dangers and are even more resistant to containment and treatment.

    Remember what prompted individuals to call for prohibition. If you think the suffering that was being caused by alcohol was serious (and it was), wait until you see the harm that other drugs will have on society, when they are given free reign.

    July 22, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dave in NM

      Barry.......you seem very firm in your conjectures......and what individuals called for prohibition? the government sponsored Temperance Unions???That was all government action....ever heard of Harry Anslinger? black people are impervious to bullets when coked up???? give me a break. Don't buy into the BS.? Check your history and try to listen to experience...we are wasting billions and can't make a dent in the drug trade and never will. Better it be "controlled" by regulation of distribution, at least there would be a fortune in tax money and most of the illegal alien activity would cease. What is so wrong with personal responsibility?. This, of course would require that the government quit taking care of us....if you OD you're dead, unless your personal health insurance covers it, mine would...same with motorcycle helmets. Do you really want to be dependent on a dolt like Obama to "take care" of you? One is not doing any favors making the populace look to the government for anything.And, I don't believe alkies are breaking into my house to buy beer, a "controlled" substance....kinda

      July 22, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jueceman

    So the US used million s in tax payer money to lock up thousands and to seize millions from the economy. Oh yea, we must agian use taxpayer money to prosecute these fools. Anyone think that the war on drugs contributes to taking away jobs and to the large deficit? I don't remember any law enforcement agencies donating the money to education or charities. So whats the point? So some government employees to play cowboy? Last time I checked alcohol was the most dangerous drug in America. And last time i checked, if there is no clientele there is no market, sooo you take away the drugs, but the drugs were there for a reason. There is a big market sitting there for a young buck to come and take over. The cycle continues.

    July 22, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. jack h

    the DEA are only government thugs protecting our oun governments drug turf. the U.S. government is one the biggest smugglers of drugs in the world. you think these drug gangs are evil? well so is our government. in the 1950's the CIA drugged thousands of unsuspecting victims with LSD for mind control experiments. in the 1960's the CIA was smuggling tons of herion from s.e. asia and manufacturing tons of meth, flooding the streets of america createing thousands of junkies (ADDICTS) in every american city. then the junkie problem spilled over into a crime wave. junkies needed money to support their habit and street crime was out of control. so the gov. solved the problem by bringing in 100% pure herion and meth, overdoseing and killing the problem. our gov. also sprayed mexican marijuana fields with paraquat, a weed killer that also killed people here in the u.s. who smoked it. then the 1980's, the cia flooded the streets with tons of cocaine (iran/contra scandle) and caused the crack epidemic. drugs have allways been illegal because being illegal keeps the price high and is a big source of income for governments. remember the boxer rebellion? the british threatened war with china in the 1880's to get a piece of china's opium trade. DRUGS ARE NEVER GOING AWAY AND THE WAR ON DRUGS IS A BIG JOKE. our government provides helicopters and weapons to dictators south of our border to control them and the drug trade.

    July 22, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Doninick Apperanza

      Tell us how you really feel, Jack.

      July 22, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • jack h

      so don, i guess you agree with our government's war on drugs and hundreds of thousands of people in prison? most for non violent crimes like possion or selling small amounts of drugs to support their own habit. in 1960's texas you could go to prison for 20 years just for 1 marijuana cigarrete; but it was legal to drive with an open container of alcohol. you could drive drunk out of your mind and the police would just take you home in most cases. alcohol and tobacco are the most dangerous drugs in the world killing millions every year but that's ok.

      July 22, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • AO

      Besides your ass, what is your valid source of this information?

      July 22, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • jack h

      AO, what rock did you just crawl out from under? the boxer rebellion, iran/contra scandle, and cia lsd experiments are proven history. it's a proven fact the u.s. government sprayed mexican marijuana fields with paraquat. proven fact in the 1960's, many addicts died as a result of 100% pure herion and meth. no real proof that the cia smuggled the herion and manufactured the meth but many witness's have spoken about it.

      July 22, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter

      you do realize that USA troops still guard the poppy fields in afganistan to this very day right? youtube!

      July 22, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • it's not alot

      it's only a problem if you're not making money.
      I saw the writing on the wall back in the nineties and invested heavily in CCA and GEO, two of the main players in the prison-privatization move and, suffice to say, I don't fly coach anymore.
      the irony: I love eating pot brownies at 38,000ft...

      July 22, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • SophieCat

      "Drugs" are the cover for the REAL product – HUMAN TRAFFICKING. Human Beings will net more profit any day, than drugs. The Government has instructed the Media in this country to focus on "the drug war, the drug war, blah blah blah The Drug War", when the REAL problem is human trafficking.

      Once again, your government has done a bang-up job of getting the American People off-track and onto some rabbit-trail specifically designed to distract you from the REAL PROBLEM.

      July 22, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • ReallyNow

      I had no idea Jack, me off.

      July 22, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • bruce

      ... agreed. How about a SOURCE for some of these wild alegations JACK.

      I lived through much of this, and this counter culture history of the CIA flooding streets with drugs is not fact.

      July 23, 2011 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. JB

    How much is this costing tax payers? What we are going to now pay for 2000 more people to jail or deport and this still won't make illegal drugs any less available?
    Dont you get it, the US public wants drugs. Legalize them all and regulate it. How much money could this have brought it?
    But as Chris Rock said: The government wants us using their drugs, not our drugs.

    July 22, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • bruce

      SO it's better to have armed drug lords roaming our streets?

      Legalize WHAT? We're not talking about home grown 'pot'. We're talking about cocaine, heroine, meth... Do you care if there are tens of thousands of dead kids laying on our streets?

      You can't win the 'war on poverty' or a 'war on crime' either... but you certainly don't QUIT. Think a little more about your position.

      July 23, 2011 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
  9. Brown eye

    The DEA has to protect the CIA. CIA owns the drug turf here

    July 22, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • bruce

      What utter fantasy. How about some credible source that ties the CIA to drug trading?

      July 23, 2011 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
  10. JohnnyDontBelieveIt

    I totally agree with Jack H.

    July 22, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Peter

    who are the REAL smugglers?
    face it, the government is a cartel themselves... only difference is they have bigger gangs, bigger weapons. that is all.

    July 22, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • jack h

      this is total B.S.! they don't want to destoy the poppies because the people will turn against them? ahahhaah! WE ARE INFIDELS TO THEM, THE ENEMY! AND THAT WILL NEVER CHANGE. so what happens to the poppies if the crop isn't destroyed?, this simple bit of information was never told. so things will suddenly change next year and they will only grow watermellon and wheat? who is stupid enough to believe that story? fact is american military is guarding the poppy field's and they will take the harvest. so where does the opium end up?

      July 22, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Been there done that

      The US government has no choice but to tolerate it. It fetches the highest price per square acre, the Afghans are not in a hurry to give up their livelihood.

      July 22, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rex Lutherin

      Heraldo is such an assh*le. Shame on him for promoting such obviously phony propaganda. Same goes for the idiots hosting that news channel.

      July 23, 2011 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
  12. Rob

    What I would like to know is when are they going to destroy these pieces of sh!t? When are they going to march them out into the open and shoot each of them and then send free CD's of the execution to other filthy mexican cartels as a warning? Wait a minute, that would make sense. Sorry for the confusion, this is the US government, forgot they can't get anything right!

    July 22, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. gumby

    I'm green.

    July 22, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. ATR

    The drug trade will not even notice. This is a way for the gov to say they are still fighting the war on drugs.

    July 22, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. morris wise

    Police reporters are the number one crime stoppers. Their spotlight shines on every dark corner enforcing respect for law and morality. Window shades must be outlawed, they hide secrets that should be open for all to see. Transparen­cy is needed for a perfect society.

    July 22, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Myles

      Thankfully we have rights to privcy that wackjobs cant take away... oh wait what was the patriot act again

      July 22, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
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