The Philadelphia District Attorney has announced that a major interstate cocaine trafficking ring, with connections to the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico, has been broken up.
The DAs office began the investigation in February following a tip from an informant that several garages and auto body shops thoughout the city were equipping vehicles with compartments to hide and transport drugs.
The vehicles would go to New York, pick up shipments of cocaine, and return to Philadelphia.
The three month investigation, which included the use of wiretaps, culminated in the arrest of 17 people, including a husband and wife team from Puerto Rico. Investigators say they also seized 28 kilos of cocaine with a street value close to $3 million, $300,000 in cash, 16 vehicles, 11 properties and five guns. Authorities are crediting the Dangerous Drug Offenders Unit, DEA members in Philadelphia and New York, and members of the Philadelphia, Bensalem, Cheltenham, Bristol, Middletown and Abington police departments with helping to shut down the operation.
This bust is a direct result of the September, 2011 arrests of members of the Sinaloa Cartel. The Sinaloa Cartel operates from Sinaloa and Juarez, Mexico. It's known as one of the largest and most powerful drug cartels in the world. Officials say one of the suspects arrested in that operation became an informant in the latest case and initially led investigators to one of the garages equipping the transport vehicles. The information from that garage resulted in the identification of other garages and body shops involved in the drug ring.
“Back in September, we announced that we had effectively cut off the head of a dangerous and deadly monster before it ever had a chance of poisoning our streets,” says District Attorney Seth Williams. “Now thanks to those arrests not only did we stop the Sinaloa Cartel from becoming a viable operation in Philadelphia, we have also shut down another drug ring that was trying to destroy our city.”