175 Alleged Gulf Cartel Members and Associates Arrested in Massive International Law Enforcement Operation

WASHINGTON –Today Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey announced that 175 individuals were arrested today and on Sept. 16, 2008, on charges related to an international drug trafficking cartel in a coordinated enforcement action by hundreds of international, federal, state and local law enforcement officials throughout the United States and Italy. Including the operations announced today, a long-term investigation of one of Mexico’s largest drug trafficking cartels and its U.S. and international distribution networks has resulted in the arrest of more than 500 individuals in the United States, Mexico and Italy to date.

"Project Reckoning," a multi-agency law enforcement effort led by the DEA, targeted the Mexican drug trafficking cartel known as the Gulf Cartel. Among those indicted are the three alleged leaders of the Gulf Cartel: Ezequiel Cardenas-Guillen, Heriberto Lazcano-Lazcano and Jorge Eduardo Costilla-Sanchez. These individuals, each designated as Consolidated Priority Organization Targets (CPOTs) by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), have been indicted in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia on charges that they conspired to import drugs into the United States from Mexico. A CPOT designation is reserved for significant narcotics traffickers who are believed to be the leaders of drug trafficking organizations responsible for the importation of large quantities of narcotics into the United States. More...

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