SAN JOSÉ (KCBS) — A multi-agency investigation that began in 2012 after an arrest of the a midlevel drug runner led to the arrest of 18 suspects belonging to a drug trafficking ring that ties to a Mexican cartel and a meth lab.
Prosecutor Patrick Vanier said the investigation led to Wednesday’s arrest of , a suspected high-ranking cartel member behind millions of dollars in illegal drug trade.
“What I can tell you is that he is a prolific drug trafficker and back in 2009, when he was first identified by the DEA. He moved more than 30 kilos of cocaine in a three and a half-week period of time,” he said.
Authorities did not specify which cartel is believed to be involved.
The joint investigation by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office and U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency—nicknamed “Operation Five Degrees”—also discovered a high-production methamphetamine facility located a rural farm in Elk Grove (Sacramento County) code-named “The Store” that refined raw meth brought from Mexico.
George W. Grayson, author of “Mexico: Narco-Violence and a Failed State” told KCBS that Mexican cartel are producing more meth to diversify their products.
“So a bust like this has to be seen a s setback, whether it’s La Familia or whether it’s the Sinoloa cartel,” he said.
Investigators also found another lab that produced concentrated cannabis and other drugs, including meth, heroin, cocaine and marijuana. Weapons along with thousands of dollars in laundered cash were also found.
Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said Mexican cartels are using Silicon Valley as “a major artery for flow of illegal drugs” is vowing to “cut off this toxic flood.”