Huge Drug Bust Has Local Connection

Arrests were made here five months ago

By Paul Krueger
|  Saturday, Feb 28, 2009  |  Updated 5:45 AM PDT
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Huge Drug Bust Has Local Connection

Suspected drug dealers were rounded up in the Imperial Valley, where they were allegedly stashing cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana in secret compartments of cars and trucks.

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"Operation Xcellerator" pushed deep into the cross-border drug trade. The numbers are staggering: 750 suspects under arrest; 23 tons of narcotics removed from America's neighborhoods; more than $59 million in drug money seized from the alleged kingpins.

In San Diego, the arrests connected to "Operation Xcellerator" were actually made last year. The U.S. Attorney for Southern California called it  "Operation Money Train."  Suspected drug dealers were rounded up in the Imperial Valley, where they were allegedly stashing cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana in secret compartments of cars and trucks, and driving those vehicles across the border. Agents also seized more than $9 million dollars cash from the suspects.

Local prosecutors said "Operation Money Train" dismantled six separate organized crime cells that were bring tons of illegal drugs across the U.S./Mexico border. Six of the suspects are now facing prison terms of 20 years-to-life, if convicted.

The Department of Justice revealed that those arrests made here last October were just one part of a huge crackdown on cross border drug dealing, that  includes the arrest of suspects not only in California and other border states, but in places as distant as Maryland and Minnesota.

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