Federal Agents Roll U.S. Drug Network in 14 Cities

Federal Agents Roll U.S. Drug Network in 14 Cities
Posted by FoM on August 17, 1999 at 14:26:23 PT
By Michael J. Sniffen, Associated Press
Source: Boston Globe
WASHINGTON (AP) Federal agents arrested scores of people and seized drugs and money in 14 cities today as they broke up what Assistant FBI Director Thomas Pickard called one of the top 20 drug distribution networks in this country. 
The FBI said agents had warrants to arrest 100 people and search more than 70 sites in an operation involving a group alleged to import tons of cocaine and marijuana across the Southwest border and distribute it in the East and Midwest. The target of the year-old, multi-agency Operation Southwest Express was the drug trafficking organization of Omar Rocha Soto, who was arrested Monday night in San Diego along with his wife, Adriana Espinoza. Also arrested were three brothers who agents said coordinated transportation for the group from their El Paso, Texas, base. Daniel, Raul and Angel Sotello-Lopez were arrested today in El Paso. They and others arrested were charged with drug trafficking, money laundering and conspiracy. The trafficking charges alone can carry 20-year prison terms. During the course of the investigation, agents seized 4,158 pounds of marijuana, 2,727 kilograms of cocaine and more than $1.15 million in cash. Seized today were 14 more kilograms of cocaine, two Ferrari autos, a Land Rover, and seven weapons, including an AK-47 automatic assault rifle, Pickard said. He said more than 70 arrests had been made by early afternoon and 28 more were expected. ''This investigation has resulted in a major disruption of the flow of drugs from the Southwest border throughout the United States, and the dismantlement of a major international drug trafficking network,'' said FBI Director Louis Freeh. Pickard said the group brought drugs into San Diego and El Paso and shipped them to friends and associates in Chicago in covert compartments of cars, tractor trailers and by piggy-back trains that haul trailers. From Chicago, the drugs went sent on to Cleveland, New York and Boston and then to Nashville, Tenn., and Atlanta. He said the drugs originated in Mexico, South America and Southeast Asia. ''This organization that was disrupted today embraced the American capitalist idea and would sell any type of drug for a profit,'' Pickard said. ''It did not discriminate in its dealings with any other drug organizations. For example, they sold to Dominicans, blacks, Middle Easterners and any other organized crime group throughout the United States.'' The investigation was conducted by the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Justice Department, Customs Service, Internal Revenue Service and Immigration and Naturalization Service. More than 50 state and local police agencies also took part. 08/17/99 14:41 
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Comment #2 posted by TONY ALVAREZ on May 11, 2001 at 14:53:36 PT:
will the ferraris become availible for purchase b/c if so im interested.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on August 17, 1999 at 15:08:21 PT:
Related Article Updated 03:25 PM ETŠ Copyright 1999 USA TODAY 
FBI Busts Top Drug Network 
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