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Border & Immigration

Feds Arrest 66 in Connection with Mexican Drug Cartel

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Feds Arrest 66 in Connection with Mexican Drug Cartel

Federal authorities arrested 66 people in California and other states Wednesday in connection with a Mexican drug smuggling cartel. Law enforcement authorities say the alleged cartel leader remains at large. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson has the story.

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Federal court documents say the cocaine smuggling cartel rose to power in Mexico during the last two years. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who was in San Diego, says the Cazares Cartel transported tons of cocaine from Columbia and Venezuela through Mexico, and then across the border to California. He says the group then broke the shipments down into more manageable loads for distribution to 23 U.S. states. Gonzales believes the leader, Victor Emilio Cazares, is still in Mexico.

<b> Gonzales: </b> We're hopeful that there will be an arrest in the future and when that occurs, we of course will be seeking an extradition from the Mexican authorities.

Gonzales says they seized $45 million, 27,000 pounds of marijuana and more than 9,000 pounds of cocaine. He says the Cazares Cartel competed with the Arellano-Felix cartel. Four hundred people have been arrested in connection with the Cazares organization during the 20-month-long investigation.

Amy Isackson, KPBS News.

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(Photo: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales holds a press conference to announce the arrest of 66 people tied to a Mexican drug smuggling cartel. Amy Isackson, KPBS ).