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Press Release

Operation Blue Storm selected for Regional Award

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Nebraska

United States Attorney for the District of Nebraska, Deborah R. Gilg, announces that Operation Blue Storm was selected as the National Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) most outstanding regional drug trafficking case for 2012. An awards ceremony was held today at the United States Attorney’s Office honoring the investigators and prosecutors involved in this case. The cooperative efforts of these individuals made the Operation Blue Storm OCDETF case such a resounding success. The award recipient agencies involved in the case included twenty-five investigators and prosecutors from the following agencies:

Bellevue Police Department                                
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Internal Revenue Service                         
Omaha Police Department                       
Peoria (AZ) Police Department               
United States Attorney’s Office – District of Nebraska

In addition to these represented agencies in attendance,  Associate Deputy Attorney General Jim Dinan, Director of OCDETF, joined the ceremony via video conference, and IRS SAC Sybil Smith and ASAC Tanya Brewer from St. Louis were in attendance, along with Sam Bertolet, the OCDETF regional coordinator. 

The OCDETF program was established in 1982 as a multi-agency, nationwide effort to pursue intelligence-driven, coordinated multi-jurisdictional investigations of criminal organizations trafficking drugs and laundering the illicit proceeds of crime.  The OCDETF Program forms the centerpiece of the DOJ counter-narcotics strategy and is also the platform through which the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Treasury pursue complex drug and drug-related money laundering investigations.  Through the OCDETF Program, these three Executive Departments use prosecutor-led, multi-agency task forces to combat high-priority national and international organized criminal organizations.

The investigation and prosecution resulted in the dismantlement of a multi-state marijuana trafficking enterprise, headed up by Shannon Williams, and his associates, many of which were members of a well-known street gang, the South Family Bloods.  The enterprise was responsible for the transportation and distribution of nearly 16,000 pounds of marijuana with a street value of approximately $7.75 million.  The trafficking operation occurred primarily between Arizona and Omaha.  The Nebraska case resulted in the indictment and conviction of 15 individuals, and the seizure of property valued at nearly $600,000.  It led to another investigation in Arizona targeting the suppliers, which resulted in the indictment of eleven additional individuals.  The suppliers were directly linked to the Sinaloa Mexican Cartel.  This investigation required an incredible amount of coordination and orchestration by federal prosecutors. The investigation coordination and cooperation was outstanding from a number of local, state and federal law enforcement officers across the country, that dismantled a very lucrative criminal drug enterprise linked to the most powerful drug cartel in the world.

At the ceremony, United States Attorney Deborah R. Gilg commented, “The outstanding work done by this collaboration of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies disrupted a major tentacle of the Sinaloa Mexican Cartel to the Midwestern region.  This demonstrates law enforcement teamwork at its best.”

Updated January 29, 2015