Mexico arrests Sinaloa drug cartel members on US border in joint operation
MEXICO CITY – Mexican police arrested up to 24 members of the Sinaloa drug cartel in a joint operation with the United States that also netted a cache of heavy weaponry and drugs, officials said Sunday.
Friday’s secretive operation was designed to crack down on a cell of the gang responsible for smuggling large amounts of drugs — including heroin and cocaine — into the United States, with millions of dollars and weapons coming back the other way, a U.S. official said.
Dubbed “Mexican Operation Diablo Express,” the sting targeted high-level members of the Sinaloa cartel operating in and around the Mexican border town of Sonoyta and on the border with Arizona, said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Gillian Christensen.
“Due to the sensitive nature, this operation was conducted with utmost secrecy to maintain the element of surprise and to ensure the safety of the Mexican law enforcement officers executing it,” Christensen said.
“The arrest of 24 organizational members, coupled with the seizure of assault type weapons and hundreds of pounds of narcotics, strikes a strong blow to the Sinaloa cartel.”
The U.S. would seek the extradition of the suspects, she said, adding that Mexican police were brought into the U.S. “to allow them to more safely execute their law enforcement operation in Mexico.”
The leader of the Sinaloa cartel is Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, the infamous drug kingpin who was recaptured by Mexican authorities on Jan. 8 after a dramatic jail break.
Mexican officials said police arrested 22 gang members and killed two others in what it called an air-and-ground operation.
Mexican federal agents, having observed a property guarded by armed men in Sonoyta, just south of Lukeville, Arizona, launched an operation to flush them out, the National Security Commission (CNS) said in a statement.
When agents came under attack, they returned fire, killing two men believed to be involved in smuggling drugs or undocumented immigrants, the statement said. Other suspected gang members laid down their arms and were arrested.
CNS said it appeared the property was used to store drugs and house immigrants until they could be smuggled into the United States.
The Mexican authorities said that they had seized packets containing roughly 250 kilograms (550 pounds) of what appeared to be marijuana, as well as 18 firearms — 15 assault rifles and three handguns — and an assortment of cartridges.
Because of its location abutting the U.S. border, Sonora state has a heavy presence of drug cartels and is one of the most violent regions in Mexico.
You may be interested
This town ain’t big enough for the two of usKatherine Stanley - June 20, 2018
Brazilian star Neymar, left, and Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas, a three-time Champions League title holder with his club team,…
Children in cages: this feels like defeatAlvaro Murillo - June 20, 2018
I don’t know how I would feel if I weren’t a father. However, I am, and there are very few…
Costa Rica, Brazil battle rumors of tension and injury before high-stakes matchupAFP and The Tico Times - June 19, 2018
The stakes couldn't be higher: if Costa Rica loses to its opponent on Friday, it will be out of the…