Two dozen drug cartel members arrested in cross-border raid
TUCSON, Ariz. — A cross-border raid by U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials resulted in the arrest of 24 Sinaloa cartel members, authorities said.
The sting occurred Friday around the Arizona border with Mexico, local media reported.
It also netted “assault-type weapons” and hundreds of pounds of narcotics, said spokeswoman Gillian M. Christensen of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The raid, dubbed Mexican Operation Diablo Express, targeted “high-level” Sinaloa cartel members who operate in the United States and the Mexican state of Sonora.
“The operation targets criminal elements and organizations operating in and around Sonoyta, Mexico,” a statement from Christensen said.
Mexican federal officers were brought in to the United States to ensure safety during the operation.
“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.
Those arrested are in the custody of the Mexican government, but Christensen said the United States will seek their extradition.
“The targeted Sinaloa cell has been responsible for the importation of millions of pounds of illegal drugs, including marijuana, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, into the United States from Mexico,” she said.
In addition to drugs, the organization also smuggles weapons and millions of dollars into Mexico.
Various agencies took part in the raid, including the Scottsdale Police Department, other Arizona law enforcement officials, the FBI, ICE, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The sting comes after Mexican forces captured Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman this month. The drug kingpin escaped from a maximum-security prison in July.