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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
November 8, 2002

More than 100 subjects arrested in multi agency Drug Operations

Michele M. Leonhart, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA in Los Angeles, and Ronald L. Iden, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI in Los Angeles announced the arrests of approximately 100 subjects named in federal indictments and complaints in connection with coordinated drug investigations in Los Angeles, California; Anchorage, Alaska; and Kansas City, Kansas.

Sixteen subjects were named in federal complaints or indictments in Operations Heavy Hitter, Once Again, and So-Cal Snow. All three operations were based in Los Angeles. Forty-four subjects were indicted in Operation Arctic Heat, based in Anchorage, and 38 subjects were charged in Operation Sword Blade, based in Kansas City, Kansas. The Los Angeles investigations were conducted by the DEA, FBI, IRS, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, LAPD, Southern California Drug Task Force, and the San Bernardino West End Narcotics Task Force.

The cases focused on targets in Los Angeles who imported cocaine from Mexico and delivered it to a number of cell heads in the Los Angeles area for further distribution to various points nationwide. Operation Arctic Heat was initiated independently in Anchorage, but later overlapped with the Los Angeles cases. Operation Sword Blade was initiated in Kansas City after agents identified subjects there who were receiving cocaine from subjects identified in the Heavy Hitter and Once Again cases based in Los Angeles.

Michele M. Leonhart, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA's Los Angeles Field Division, stated, "These operations reveal the significant role Los Angeles plays in international, national, and local cocaine trafficking."

The following are some of the arrests and seizures made in Operations Heavy Hitter, Once Again, and So-Cal Snow (by date; subjects; location; arresting agency and/or Operation name). This list is only partial as there are several spin-off and/or fugitive investigations still being worked based on other seizures made in these cases.

02/14/02 Arrest of Cenorino Espinoza and seizure of 30 kilos of cocaine and $16,300 in US currency; 4348 Elizabeth, Cudahy, CA; RNSP; HEAVY HITTER.

02/27/02 Seizure of 56 lbs of marijuana; 23211 Front Street, Lake Forest, CA; CHP; HEAVY HITTER

04/25/02 Arrest of Jose Martinez and German Hichos and seizure of 1 kilo of cocaine; Holmes Street/ Slauson Avenue, Bell, CA; LASD; HEAVY HITTER

06/13/02 Arrest of Leonard Brown and seizure of 400 grams of cocaine, 38.1 grams of heroin, and $25,000 in US currency; 8919 Miner Street, LA, CA; RNSP/ LASD; ONCE AGAIN

06/19/02 Arrest of Jorge Arellano and Miguel Angel Sosa and seizure of 14.6 kilos of cocaine; El Paso, TX; USCS; HEAVY HITTER

07/03/02 Arrest of Pedro Rosario, Glenis Reynoso, and Marcelo Zapata, and seizure of 2 kilos of cocaine; SO CAL SNOW

07/26/02 Arrest of Hector Banuelos, Lauro Solano, and Julio Gonzalez, and seizure of 2.5 kilos of cocaine; Downey, CA; Downey PD; SO CAL SNOW

09/03/02 Arrest of Jose Vinicio BELTRAN, and seizure of $103,756 U.S. currency; Paramount, CA; LASD; HEAVY HITTER

09/25/02 Arrest of Ernesto Salazar LOPEZ and Prudencio Salazar LOPEZ and seizure of 74 kilos of cocaine, 75.9 grams of heroin, 1 van (with trap), 6 weapons (two fully auto AK-47's, four .45 cal semi-auto handguns) and $21,501 U.S. currency; Paramount, CA; LASD; HEAVY HITTER

09/30/02 Arrest of Jose Alburto BELTRAN and seizure of 15 kilos of cocaine; Downey, CA; LASD; HEAVY HITTER

For additional information, please contact Special Agent Jose Martinez at DEA's Office of Public Affairs at (213) 621-6714.




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