Despite the violence raging in juarez…very little, if any spillover has come to El Paso.
But a nationwide bust of thousands of alleged cartel members shows some of them are living on this side of the border, in our neighborhoods.
The D-E-A spent nearly two years zeroing in on cartel suspects in the U.S.
With the help of police and sheriff’s departments all over the country, they found more than 2,000 of them, from coast-to-coast.
“Now, without question, these arrests and seizures will disrupt drug cartel operations and impact the ability of traffickers to move narcotics into the United States,” said U.S Attorney General, Eric Holder at a news conference in Washington, D.C.
“Project Deliverance” closed with a rush Wednesday morning.
Various law enforcement agencies, including police and sheriff’s deputies in El Paso helped arrest 429 suspects in 15 states…many of them alleged members of the Juarez and Sinaloa drug cartels.
“As a result of these arrests, the cartels will be influx for a while. They’ll be looking for new people, new trusted people. And as you know, it takes times for trust to develop…to transport their drugs throughout the country and also dispense their poison throughout our community,” said El Paso’s DEA Special Agent in Charge, Joseph Arabit.
The 22-month operation stretched from coast to coast. More than 2,000 people were arrested…154 million dollars seized…and 74 tons of illegal drugs wiped off the streets.
“This operation has struck a very significant blow against the cartels, but make no mistake, we know that as successful as this operation was, it was just one battle in what is an ongoing war,” said Holder.
And not everything went as planned. In El Paso … one woman was mistakenly arrested.
“We admitted our mistake immediately. We took her back home, we apologized for the inconvenience,” said Arabit.
She was taken in for questioning and then released.
The feds say it was something they just couldn’t avoid, “You know, often times you have people with the same names, same descriptors, it’s one of those unfortunate things and I underscore the unfortunate part,” said Arabit.
The D.E.A. says the woman wrongfully arrested commended the agents for their professionalism.
Many of those arrested were charged with conspiracy and face a mandatory sentence of ten years to life in prison.