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News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 22, 2003

YUMA-BASED DRUG SMUGGLING RING, LINKED
TO MEXICO'S NOTORIOUS ARELLANO-FELIX DRUG CARTEL,
DISMANTLED

Yuma, AZ - On October 21, 2003, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in conjunction with a multi-jurisdictional force comprised of other federal law enforcement agencies and local police, arrested 27 members in an on-going investigation of the Noel HARO Trafficking Organization. Last month, State of Arizona, Assistant Attorney General Billie Rosen prosecuted ringleader HARO on 17 counts involving marijuana, cocaine and money laundering. HARO was found guilty and was sentenced to 272 years in prison.

Yesterday's arrests were the result of a 48-month long investigation that targeted a large-scale drug trafficking and money laundering organization with links to the Arellano-Felix organization, one of Mexico's most ruthless and violent drug cartels. The organization moved multi-ton quantities of drugs from Mexico through Arizona to California and Las Vegas and ran them as far as Detroit and Atlanta.

This brings to a total of 76 arrests in this investigation.

The investigation used a variety of law enforcement tools to successfully dismantle this significant drug smuggling ring. More than 70 officers were involved in the arrests, and some were brought in from other counties because of the magnitude of the round up.

"There are 76 fewer drug menaces on Arizona streets today because of this cooperative effort of State, Federal and local agencies," said Rosen.

Acting SAC Anthony J. Coulson remarked, "The successful outcome of the investigation was the result of combined efforts and notable teamwork by local police and Federal law enforcement. The investigation underscores the critical role of cooperation among federal agencies and that of State and Local police."

Assistant Attorneys General Billie Rosen and Kristen Hoffmeyer handled the prosecution for the Attorney General's Office

Other participating agencies in this investigation were the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS), the U. S. Border Patrol, the Yuma County Attorney's Office, Yuma County Sheriff's Department, Yuma Police Department and the Arizona Child Protective Services.

 

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