Fourteen alleged methamphetamine traffickers were arrested on Wednesday in Operation Kullvid-20, to announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham.
Led by the DEA’s North Texas Strike Force, the investigation has netted a total of 40 federal defendants plus 2,708 kilograms of methamphetamine, 29 guns, and $742,000 cash to date, including 17 kilograms of methamphetamine, 6 guns, and $12,000 cash seized just yesterday. Over the course of the investigation, agents have also seized six vehicles, 30 kilograms of heroin, and 719 grams – or roughly 539,500 lethal doses – of fentanyl.
The defendants – the majority of whom were arrested in the Dallas area – will begin making their initial appearances on Friday. Five defendants remain at large.
“The North Texas Strike Force’s goal is simple: dismantle the most dangerous and violent criminal drug networks in North Texas that are responsible for poisoning our neighborhoods with methamphetamine and other illicit drugs,” said Eduardo A. Chávez, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Dallas Field Division. “Through the combined efforts of our federal, state, and local partner agencies, we will not stop until individuals such as those arrested yesterday are held accountable to justice and to the victims and families of so many that have been destroyed because of their greed.”
According to court documents, the defendants conspired to smuggle powered methamphetamine from Mexico into the United States. Distributors then oversaw the conversion of powder to crystal before selling the drugs to local customers.
Over the phone, defendants allegedly spoke in code to avoid detection by law enforcement, using the Spanish word “diente,” or “tooth” to refer to 10 packages of meth and the word “ventilador,” or “fan,” to refer to 20 packages. (Both terms sound similar the words, “diez” and “vente,” or “ten” and “twenty.”)
At one point, an unidentified coconspirator warned a top distributor to abandoned his residence because he believed law enforcement was monitoring the home.
“Get the [expletive] out of there, cousin! I tossed everything out. These dudes, the cops are following me, but I’m taking off, cousin,” the coconspirator said. “All right, all right,” the distributor replied.
Those charged in a 22-count superseding indictment filed in May and unsealed this week include:
The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces’ (OCDETF) North Texas Strike Force conducted the investigation. Agencies that participated in Wednesday’s takedown include: the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Dallas Field Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives’ Dallas Field Division, IRS – Criminal Investigations, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the Dallas Coppell, and Grand Prairie Police Departments. Homeland Security Investigations, the Navarro County Sheriff’s Office, and the Corsicana, Mesquite, Balch Springs, and Wills Point Police Departments assisted. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Kull is prosecuting the case.
The OCDETF program was established in 1982 to attack and reduce the supply of illegal drugs entering the United States and to diminish violence and other criminal activity associated with the drug trade. OCDETF works with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to identify, disrupt, and dismantle traffickers and trafficking networks.