14 departments involved in Texas marijuana bust of 115 pounds
Officers and officials from over 14 different federal, state, county, and local departments participated in what the Drug Enforcement Agency has termed a large scale drug bust in both Texas and New Mexico, confiscating a total of 115 pounds of marijuana.
Twelve individuals are facing drug trafficking and money laundering charges as the result of a multi-agency investigation.
Arrests were made in five cities and towns in New Mexico and Texas, and the operation also included the execution of federal search warrants at six residences in Texas and one residence in New Mexico.
Also seized was $92,166 in cash, 14 vehicles, and 16 firearms, one of which was reported stolen.
In announcing the results of the investigation, U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez said, “The indictments announced today should serve as a reminder that marijuana is a dangerous drug and the illegal distribution and sale of marijuana is a serious crime. The Justice Department continues to enforce the drug trafficking laws particularly when illegal marijuana trafficking provides a significant source of revenue for drug trafficking organizations.”
“Today’s arrests in El Paso and Lubbock, Texas, as well as Roswell, New Mexico are another excellent example of the ongoing collaboration between DEA and our federal, state and local law enforcement partners,” said Will R. Glaspy, Special Agent in Charge of the El Paso Division of DEA. “Criminal organizations should reconsider whether they can conduct their illegal activities undetected in our southern New Mexico and West Texas communities. The law enforcement community is committed to rooting out and dismantling these organizations so that they are no longer free to spread its poison in our neighborhoods.”
“It takes a lot of hard work, cooperation, and coordination to take down a multi-state drug trafficking organization with each agency contributing its own valuable knowledge and skills to the investigation” said Dawn Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Field Office of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.
These cases are the result of an investigation by the Las Cruces offices of the DEA and IRS Criminal Investigation, the Hatch Police Department, the Sunland Police Department, the Chaves County Metro Narcotics Task Force, the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force, the Eddy County Sheriff’s Office. The El Paso office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas and the Lubbock office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas assisted in the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah M. Davenport of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office is prosecuting these cases.
The following additional law enforcement agencies participated in today’s law enforcement operation: the El Paso Division of the DEA, the U.S. Border Patrol, the Roswell Police Department, and the Lubbock Police Department.
The Chaves County Metro Narcotics Task Force is comprised of officers and investigators from the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office and the Roswell Police Department, and the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force is comprised of officers and investigators from the Artesia Police Department, Carlsbad Police Department, Eddy County Sheriff’s Office, FBI, HSI, the Probation and Parole Division of the New Mexico Corrections Department and the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Both Task Forces are part of the New Mexico HIDTA Region VI Drug Task Force. The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program was created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. HIDTA is a program of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) which provides assistance to federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States and seeks to reduce drug trafficking and production by facilitating coordinated law enforcement activities and information sharing.
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