DEA targets international drug ring

Feb. 15, 2005 at 2:08 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Tuesday said arrests have shut down a large-scale heroin and cocaine trafficking organization south of the border.

"Operation Jump Start" targeted the organization, which typically shipped multi-kilogram amounts of Colombian heroin hidden in car batteries from Guatemala to Mexico and the United States, DEA Administrator Karen Tandy said.

She said Operation Jump Start represents a first for DEA: disrupting an established trend involving the flow of Colombian heroin on a specific route from Guatemala through Mexico to Texas and eventually to New York and other parts of the United States.

Operation Jump Start was a highly orchestrated multijurisdictional, multinational takedown resulting in 100 arrests thus far, the DEA said.

Colombian national Humberto Palaez Escobar, also known as "Beto," a key target in the organization's leadership, was captured Tuesday in Colombia.

Manuel Linares-Sandoval and Javier Reyes, both Guatemalans, and Alirio Munoz-Munoz, a Colombian, were arrested on provisional arrest warrants Tuesday in Guatemala.

Carlos Enrique Gonzalez-Hoyos and Edgar Nicolas Romero-Ganan were also arrested on provisional warrants Tuesday.

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