News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: June 11, 2010
Diana Apodaca
Public Information Officer
915-832-6074

DEA Announces Largest Single U.S. Strike Against Mexican Drug Cartels and Facilitators

JUN 11 -- EL PASO – DEA El Paso Special Agent-in-Charge Joseph Arabit and other federal, state, and local law enforcement officials today announced 163 arrests in West Texas and New Mexico as part of Project Deliverance, the largest single U.S. strike against Mexican drug cartels and those who facilitate their activities.
 
“This unprecedented effort has affected every level of the violent, vicious drug trafficking organizations who wreak havoc in communities across the country, including West Texas and New Mexico.  Many of those arrested as part of Project Deliverance used every means of transportation imaginable to move huge amounts of drugs and money between Mexico and the United States,” Arabit said. “Working with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, we have attacked the facilitators – those doing the smuggling and transporting for their Mexico-based organization and cartel leaders.”

 The success of this collection of cases that make up Project Deliverance is undeniable: Record seizures of cash and drugs, and over 2,200 individuals arrested over a 22-month period in the largest law enforcement strike against Mexico-based drug trafficking organizations.  This nationwide initiative involved cases in approximately 26 cities and resulted in the seizure of  2.5 tons of cocaine, 69 tons of marijuana, 1,262 pounds of methamphetamine, 1,410 pounds of heroin, $154 million in U.S. currency, 501 weapons, and 527 vehicles.

Locally, arrests took place in El Paso; Midland, Texas; Andrews, Texas; Ft. Stockton, Texas; Alpine, Texas; Balmorhea, Texas; Las Cruces, New Mexico; Espanola, New Mexico; and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Many of these local arrests are the result of DEA investigations reaching into the retail distribution networks locally and will directly impact the drug markets in smaller communities.  For example, Espanola, New Mexico arrests included several local dealers who have preyed on a community where heroin abuse is both endemic and multigenerational and which has one of the highest rates of drug-related deaths in the country.
Arrest breakdown:

    • 56 in El Paso, (10 were in custody previously);
    • 32 in Midland and Andrews, TX;
    • 10 in Odessa, TX, Ft. Stockton, TX, and Balmorhea, TX;
    • 65 in New Mexico, including 18 in Espanola/Santa, Fe (5 were in custody previously)

The DEA El Paso Division encourages parents, and their children to visit the following interactive websites at www.justhinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.