International Mexican Heroin Investigation, Operation "Landslide" Commences, Results In West Coast Arrests And Seizures As Well As Arrests In Mexico
On November 15, 2001, Operation Landslide, an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation culminated, resulting in 38 U.S. arrests and 5 arrests by Mexican authorities. So far, drug seizures from this operation have totaled over 770 pounds of heroin, 34 pounds of methamphetamine, and 3 kilograms of cocaine. The operation, an international effort involving Mexican authorities, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the United States Customs Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, U.S. Attorneys Office from several jurisdictions, and at least 20 state and local counterparts, targeted a Mexico-based heroin distribution organization. Authorities were tipped off to the Mexican group almost a year ago following three Southwest Border seizures totaling 253 pounds of Mexican heroin. Further investigation revealed the existence of U.S.-based cells operating in San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles.
During this investigation, authorities learned not only that significant amounts of black tar heroin were entering the U.S. at regular intervals, but that the heroin was often accompanied by smaller amounts of methamphetamine and cocaine. Once inside the United States, the drugs were transported to stash locations in California, before being distributed throughout the U.S. Operation Landslide identified distribution cells in 31 cities and 11 states, including 14 cities in California alone, as well as Seattle and Yakima, Washington; Portland, Oregon; St. Louis, Missouri; Chicago, Illinois; Denver, Colorado; Phoenix, San Luis, and Nogales, Arizona; Dallas, Del Rio, El Paso, and Laredo, Texas; Raleigh, North Carolina; Miami, Florida; and Atlanta, Georgia.
Once the heroin and other drugs were distributed, U.S. based cell heads located in the various cities collected the proceeds and returned the money to organizational members in Tijuana, Mexico. The investigation documented millions of dollars in returns.
In FY 2001 the U.S. government seized in excess of 700 pounds heroin along the Southwest border in comparison to approximately 386 pounds in FY 2000. This represents more than a 90 percent increase. Of these total seizures, almost 50 percent can be attributed to the Landslide organization.
participating in Operation Landslide:
State / Local
Agencies participating in Operation Landslide: