News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:
DEA Public Affairs
Number: 202-307-7977
November 30, 2005

DEA Dismantles International Cocaine Trafficking Ring
Investigation Targets Criminal Drug Cartel with Ties to Two Countries

Operation Northern Impact(Washington, D.C.)- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Deputy Administrator Michele M. Leonhart today announced the culmination of Operation Northern Impact, an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation that targeted an international cocaine and marijuana trafficking ring whose drug smuggling and money laundering operations ranged across the Southwest Border and into the Northeastern United States. Operation Northern Impact resulted in the arrest of 53 individuals for charges that included drug conspiracy and money laundering. The seizures for Operation Northern Impact totaled 341 kilograms of cocaine, 2,258 pounds of marijuana, and $1.4 million in U.S. assets.

Operation Northern ImpactOperation Northern Impact identified and dismantled a multi-million dollar drug distribution network responsible for smuggling and distributing significant quantities of cocaine from Mexico to the United States. The organization’s distribution network extended from the Southwest Border as far northeast as the Washington D.C.-Baltimore area.

DEA agents, along with partners from international, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies conducted an extensive 24-month investigation which resulted in the dismantlement of three major drug transportation rings based in Greensboro, NC, Phoenix, AZ and Los Angeles, CA. These arrests mark the conclusion of an international and multi-jurisdictional operation that was coordinated by DEA’s Special Operations Division (SOD), and will primarily be prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s offices for the Middle District of North Carolina, the District of Arizona, and the Central District of California.

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“From the Southwest Border to Northeast Baltimore, the cocaine and marijuana network created and refined by these traffickers spanned our nation, ravaged our communities, and left countless lives grasping for hope from the tragedy of addiction.” said DEA Deputy Administrator Michele M. Leonhart “Today’s actions are the culmination of two years of work and the unwavering commitment to take dealers off our streets and drugs out of America’s bloodstream.”

Operation Northern Impact is a joint investigation involving the DEA and the following agencies: the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, the California Highway Patrol, the Los Angeles Police Department, the North Carolina State Police, the Greensboro, NC Police Department, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and the Phoenix Police Department.

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