DEA Announces Results Of Operation Knight Stalker
Thirty arrest warrants issued in large meth, cocaine and heroin investigation
SAN DIEGO - On December 13, 2012, San Diego Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Special Agent in Charge William R. Sherman and San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced the results of a 21-month operation, dubbed Operation Knight Stalker, which targeted legacy members of the La Familia Michoacá(LFM) drug cartel and members of the Knights Templar (or Los Caballeros Templarios “LCT”) in California and Mexico.
Arrest warrants have been issued for 30 individuals across Southern California; 16 of the defendants were arrested this week. The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office has filed 12 cases against 30 defendants. Felony criminal charges include transportation and possession for sale of meth, cocaine and heroin; conspiracy; and child endangerment.
“When you arrest over 30 members of one cartel, you are making it difficult if not impossible for that organization to function”, says San Diego DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge William R. Sherman. “These arrests will significantly disrupt the operations of the Knights Templar Cartel for a long time to come.”
In 2010, the DEA’s Carlsbad Resident Office began an investigation into the “La Familia Michoacán” (LFM) members working in Mexico and Southern California involved in the smuggling of large quantities of methamphetamine into the United States from Mexico. Early in the investigation, intelligence revealed that the LFM was currently embroiled in a turf-war with an LFM off-shoot group known only as the Knights Templar Cartel. This eventually led to an all-out war between LFM and Knights Templar in Michoacán, Mexico and elsewhere which contributed to the rise in power of the Knights Templar Cartel in Mexico and in the United States.
During the course of the investigation, DEA agents identified Mexican-based leaders, load coordinators, domestic cell heads as well as numerous stash houses, and subsequently coordinated the seizure of hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine and other drugs from cell members in Mexico and their counterparts in the U.S.
“This operation gives you a window into the continuing large-scale drug trafficking that continues to plague San Diego County across the U.S.-Mexico border. The internal dynamics of these dangerous cartels is constantly changing, but operations like this one cripple their ability to do business,” said DA Dumanis.
On December 13, DEA, in conjunction with other DEA offices in Los Angeles, Sacramento and New York, along with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s California Multi-Jurisdictional Methamphetamine Task (LASO/ CAL-MMET), and the United States Border Patrol, served 30 arrest warrants in San Diego, Chula Vista, Los Angeles, Riverside, Perris, Santa Ana, Downey, Buena Park, Azusa, and Manteca, CA along with numerous consent and probation searches.
Operation Knight Stalker has thus far resulted in the seizure of more than 1,000 pounds of methamphetamine, 200 pounds of cocaine, 28 pounds of heroin, 320 pounds of marijuana and $200,000 in U.S. currency. This investigation was conducted and supported by the San Diego DEA, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s California Multi-Jurisdictional Methamphetamine Task (LASO/ CAL-MMET), the U.S. Border Patrol, and the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.