July 21, 2011
Contact: Diana Apodaca
Phone Number: (915) 832-6000
El Paso Division Arrests For Project Delirium
20-month series of investigations lead to nearly 2,000 arrests, over $60 million seized
EL PASO, TX -- - EL PASO, Texas -The Drug Enforcement (DEA) today announced the results of Project Delirium, a 20-month series of investigations nationwide targeting the La Familia Michoacana cartel. DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart announced the results of the largest strike against La Familia in the United States: 1,985 arrests, $62 million in U.S. currency, and approximately 2,773 pounds of methamphetamine, 2,722 kilograms of cocaine, 1,005 pounds of heroin, 14,818 pounds of marijuana and $3.8 million in other assets. Over 70 of these arrests took place yesterday and today, and over 200 have been arrested since June 1.
Individuals indicted in the cases are charged with a variety of crimes, including: conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana; distribution of methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana; conspiracy to import narcotics into the United States; money laundering; and other violations of federal law. Numerous defendants face forfeiture allegations as well.
Five investigations by DEA’s El Paso Division, which covers Far West Texas and all of New Mexico, were part of the nationwide takedown in Project Delirium. While some of these investigations are ongoing, they have resulted, thus far, in the arrest of 21 defendants who were taken into custody on or about July 20, 2011. Nine additional defendants were arrested previously during the course of the investigations bringing the total to 30. Of the defendants facing charges as the result of El Paso Division investigations, 10 were in Texas; and 20 were in New Mexico.
In addition, El Paso Division agents and their law enforcement partners have seized a total of 254 kilograms of cocaine, seven ounces of heroin, one ounce of methamphetamine, seven ounces of MDMA powder, 314 kilograms of marijuana, $19,163.00 in U.S. currency, and four vehicles in connection with Project Delirium.
“These indictments and arrests are another example of our ongoing, coordinated efforts against drug trafficking organizations whose reach spans both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. In West Texas and throughout New Mexico, DEA and our partners are determined to find drug traffickers, shut down their operations, and bring them to justice,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit.
Project Delirium’s investigative efforts in the El Paso Division have involved agents/officers of the DEA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Border Patrol, the United States Marshalls Service, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department, the El Paso Police Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Brewster County Sheriff’s Department, the Alpine Police Department, the Dona Anna County Sheriff’s Office, the Las Cruces Police Department, the New Mexico State Police Department, the New Mexico State University Police Department, the Santa Fe Police Department, the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office, and the Albuquerque Police Department.
An indictment is merely an allegation and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.