Crime and Courts

400 cops take down 36 members of Sinaloa Cartel-linked fentanyl/meth network: DA

Among those arrested was Alexander Grindley, who is accused of trafficking meth trafficking while employed as a U.S. Border Patrol agent.

Hundreds of law enforcement officers from dozens of agencies coordinated Wednesday on a series of raids connected to what prosecutors called an "Imperial Valley-based, Sinaloa Cartel-linked fentanyl-and-methamphetamine distribution network."

In all, the 14 indictments charged 47 members of the criminal operation, according to the Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of California, with 36 arrests made so far. Eleven of the suspects are now considered to be fugitives from justice. Among those arrested was Alexander Grindley, who is accused of trafficking meth trafficking while employed as a U.S. Border Patrol agent.

Two more AR-style rifles, a pistol, magazines, and Russian-made ammunition, all of which, prosecutors say, were exchanged for drugs. Photo courtesy of the Office of the United States Attorney Southern District of California

Dozens of agencies — including Homeland Security, the DEA, the Border Patrol, ICE, ATF and the San Diego County Sheriff's Department — coordinated on the busts in San Diego; Imperial County; Fresno; Los Angeles; Phoenix; and Salem, Oregon, according to the DA's office.

The numbers associated with the raid aid in understanding its scope:

  • About 2 million doses of fentanyl (nearly 9 pounds)
  • 714 pounds of methamphetamine
  • 52 firearms, including multiple AR-style weapons, as well as pistols, magazines, unfinished firearm parts used to create ghost gun, and a cache of Russian made ammunition

“With this takedown, the Justice Department has dealt yet another blow to the Sinaloa Cartel and its associates,” said U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland.

Also arrested in the sweep or named in the indictments were Cory Gershen, 36, of Jacumba; Christopher Landon Bustin, 40, of Chula Vista; and Yomayra Patricia Penuelas, 37, of El Cajon.

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