Federal, state and local law enforcement agents arrested 18 suspected methamphetamine and heroin traffickers during pre-dawn raids in the North County Wednesday morning, the office of U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy announced.
More than 200 agents and detectives from the multi-agency North County Regional Gang Task Force made the arrests across Oceanside, Vista, Escondido, San Marcos and Temecula.
Agents also seized 35 weapons during the sweep, including handguns, semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, officials said.
“The number and types of weapons seized in this investigation are troubling,” said Duffy. “We will to continue to target these well-armed drug traffickers who operate in our neighborhoods and put all of us at risk – especially our children.”
Duffy says Wednesday’s North County raids are associated with the unsealing of grand jury indictments charging 46 defendants with various drug trafficking crimes, including importation and distribution of meth. Some defendants were also charged with heroin trafficking.
The North County Regional Gang Task Force -- which includes investigators from the FBI, ATF, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, Homeland Security and the Oceanside and Carlsbad police departments – has been leading a long-term investigation into these suspected North County drug traffickers dubbed “Operation Corridor.”
The nearly four dozen defendants indicted in Operation Corridor range in age from 20 to 51 years old.
San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore says the multi-agency task force operation aims to reduce crime and keep perpetrators off the streets.
“Operation Corridor has been extremely effective in restoring quality of life to our residents in the North County along the 78 corridor,” said Sheriff Gore.
A total of 28 suspected drug traffickers linked to Operation Corridor remain at large. They hail from all parts of the North County, from Oceanside to San Marcos.