Kilmer, Special Agent
Jim Shedd, Special
Several People Arrested in Conjunction with Operation Babalu
Today the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Miami, together with the U.S. Attorney's Office (USAO), United States Customs Service (USCS), Hialeah Police Department (HPD), Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the South Florida Money Laundering Strike Force (SFMLTF) announce the arrest of several defendants and the execution of multiple search warrants in the Miami area earlier this morning.
The arrests and search warrant execution started at approximately 6:00A.M. as part of an enforcement action known as Operation Babalu. This case is an international cocaine investigation, and resulted in the seizure of over 1500 kilograms of cocaine in Miami which occurred on July 30, 2002 involving the Motor Vessel HELSINKI. This seizure was covered by the local media on July 31, 2002. This organization was importing cocaine into South Florida via Colombia and the Dominican Republic.
Public Information Officers (PIO's) from all of the agencies will be available at 11:00 AM at the DEA office in Miami for informal interviews. The DEA Miami office is located at 8400 N.W. 53 Street in Miami.
Stations interested in obtaining video taken by DEA of the events connected with this investigation should send their live trucks to the DEA Miami Office to dub the tape from mini digital video form to your stations format. The tape is several minutes in length. Please credit the footage provided by the DEA in your newscasts.
Defendant Leopaldo Valdez is taken into custody in December 2002 by Miami FD HIDTA 44 S/A Joe McGrath (left) and Miami PIO S/A Joe Kilmer (right). Operation Babalu centered on the seizure of 1534 kilograms of cocaine which came into Miami via container ship.
photo source: The Miami Herald