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Homeland Security

28 August 2003

U.S. Announces Disruption of Major Mexican Drug-Trafficking Organization

Atlanta, Georgia, was primary distribution point for drug group

Washington -- The United States has announced the disruption of a major Mexican-based organization trafficking in marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine, using Atlanta, Georgia, as its primary distribution point.

In an August 28 news conference in Atlanta, U.S. Attorney Bill Duffey said 24 people have been indicted so far in the ongoing case, many of whom are Mexican nationals residing in the United States illegally. He said the defendants stored illicit drugs in Atlanta and distributed them to a number of other U.S. states.

Under what was dubbed "Operation Enigma," U.S. authorities seized $3.3 million in cash, about 11,340 kilograms of marijuana, 262 kilos of cocaine, and 18.1 kilos of methamphetamine. He said a number of U.S. law enforcement agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, are working with Georgia state authorities on the case.

Operation Enigma targeted a transportation/distribution cell that reported to drug kingpins located within the Mexican states of Michoacan and Jalisco, Duffey indicated.

He said the case "puts drug traffickers on notice -- every federal district in the United States is conducting these same complex investigations, and federal, state, local and international investigators and prosecutors are working together as never before." Drug traffickers, he said, "cannot hide any longer."

DEA Special Agent in Charge Michael Furgason added: "It is no exaggeration to say that Atlanta has become a base of operations for well-organized and powerful international criminal organizations that are expanding their drug distribution networks throughout the United States. Enforcement efforts are dedicated to identifying, arresting, and prosecuting not only the international criminals based in the United States, but their leaders headquartered in foreign countries."

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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