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Published on April 02, 2024
Cartel Crackdown Coup: Feds Tag 41 in Texas Drug Empire Takedown, Hunt On for KingpinSource: Google Street View

In a sweeping crackdown, 41 individuals have been indicted in Texas on charges connecting them to a sprawling drug trafficking operation supposedly run by the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani announced. The 50-count indictment, which was made public in Galveston, targets a network accused of ferrying cocaine, fentanyl, heroin, and meth throughout the Houston and Galveston regions, with roots stretching back to Mexico.

The indictment details that Roque Zamudio-Mendoza, a 52-year-old Mexican national, allegedly spearheaded the drug smuggling efforts into the United States, with the drugs then distributed to various U.S. cities including New Orleans, Louisiana; Pensacola, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; Nashville, Tennessee; and Chicago, Illinois. According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office, 23 individuals have already been arrested, joining three others already in custody, while an additional 15 suspects remain at large, including Zamudio-Mendoza.

During a multi-agency operation extending across several states, law enforcement rounded up a total of 20 people from locales as varied as Arlington, Corpus Christi, Brownsville, McAllen in Texas to other areas including Louisiana, Colorado, Washington, and California. Arrests of alleged conspirators continued as they seized substantial quantities of illegal drugs, firearms, luxury items, and cash, based on details from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The massive haul from the operation thus far includes 550 kilograms of meth, 249 kilograms of cocaine, 34 kilograms of heroin, and tens of thousands of fentanyl-laced pills, in addition to the confiscation of nine firearms, several Rolex watches, and a stash of U.S. currency including $190,000 from a traffic stop in Porter, as outlined by the same source. The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of approximately $10 million in alleged ill-gotten gains. Those charged face a range of accusations from conspiracy to drug possession with intent to distribute, and if convicted, they could face life in prison.

Termed 'Operation Rainmaker,' the 63-month investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces was a concerted effort by multiple agencies aiming to dismantle high-level criminal organizations that pose a threat to the nation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kenneth Cusick and Rick Hanes are prosecuting the case which proceeded after months of intelligence-driven, investigative collaboration between the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Marshals Service, and local police departments among others.