News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 25, 2009
Contact: Joanna Zoltay
Number: 312-886-2597

DEA Minneapolis Arrests 27 People
Operation Xcellerator Takes Down Alleged Illegal Drug Distribution Organizations Nationwide

FEB 25 -- (Minneapolis) As part of an international takedown, the DEA Minneapolis District Office in concert with state and local law enforcement partners arrested 27 people with more arrests anticipated in the Minneapolis area. Those arrested are alleged to have ties to major Mexican drug trafficking organizations. The arrests were the culmination of Operation Xcellerator, a large-scale investigation that attacked multiple violent drug networks, primarily the Sinaloa Cartel, operating in Mexico, the United States and Canada. In addition to the arrests, federal search warrants were served at 13 locations throughout the Minneapolis metropolitan area. Those arrested are allegedly to have been responsible for participating in the transportation and distribution of large amounts of cocaine and methamphetamine in the Minneapolis/St. Paul areas.

"It is a proud day for the law enforcement partners in Minnesota, who worked tirelessly to dismantle the targeted organizations that attempted to entrench their methamphetamine and cocaine operations within the Twin Cities,” stated Gary G. Olenkiewicz, Special Agent in Charge of DEA’s Chicago Field Division, which covers Minnesota. “DEA and its partners are committed to ensuring that Minnesotans have a safe place to raise their families - safe from the harmful effects of drugs on our youth and safe from the violence that so often accompanies those who supply, transport, and distribute drugs."

The Minneapolis investigation was conducted jointly between DEA, Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, St. Paul Police Department, Minneapolis Police Department, Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Northwest Metro Drug Task Force, and the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office.

The Minneapolis portion of Operation Xcellerator involved multiple drug distribution cells which are allegedly responsible for transporting cocaine and methamphetamine to the area from Mexico and Canada. The modes of transportation utilized by these drug trafficking organizations included smuggling drugs across both the Mexican and Canadian borders in private automobiles, commercial bus lines, commercial air, and private and commercial trucks. It is also alleged that the illegal proceeds from their drug trafficking activity was then transported back across the US/Mexican border in bulk quantities of U. S. currency. It is estimated that the Minnesota distribution cells are alleged to have made approximately $3.5 million per month from the distribution of cocaine and methamphetamine.

Seized during today’s operation were approximately 4 pounds of methamphetamine, 5.9 pounds of cocaine, 1 pound of marijuana, 7 guns, 10 vehicles and approximately $33,000 in U.S. currency.

Operation Xcellerator began nationwide in May 2007 and overall has resulted in over 755 individual arrests and the seizure of more than $59.1 million in cash, more than 12,000 kilograms of cocaine, more than 1,200 pounds of methamphetamine, more than 8 kilograms of heroin, more than 16,000 pounds of marijuana, approximately 1.3 million dosage units of MDMA (street named “Ecstasy”), and more than 169 weapons. In addition, 149 vehicles, 3 sea vessels and 3 aircraft were seized.

Initial appearances for defendants arrested today in Minnesota are scheduled before a U.S. Magistrate on February 26, 2009.

The mission of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States and bring to the criminal and civil justice system of the United States, or any other competent jurisdiction, those organizations and principal members of organizations, involved in the growing, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances appearing in or destined for illicit traffic in the United States; and to recommend and support non-enforcement programs aimed at reducing the availability of illicit controlled substances on the domestic and international markets.

The mission of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States and bring to the criminal and civil justice system of the United States, or any other competent jurisdiction, those organizations and principal members of organizations, involved in the growing, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances appearing in or destined for illicit traffic in the United States; and to recommend and support non-enforcement programs aimed at reducing the availability of illicit controlled substances on the domestic and international markets.

The public is reminded that the defendant’s are innocent until proven guilty either in a court of law or by guilty plea.

 

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