Feds bust California-based drug network with ties to Sinaloa cartel; US Border Patrol agent arrested

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Friday, June 7, 2024
Federal agents bust CA-based drug network with ties to Sinaloa cartel
Federal authorities indicted 47 people in a takedown of a major drug trafficking network based in California with ties to the Sinaloa cartel.

EL CENTRO, Calif. -- Federal authorities announced a major takedown of a California-based drug trafficking network with ties to Mexico's Sinaloa cartel.

A total of 47 people were indicted for alleged involvement in the Imperial Valley-based network that distributed fentanyl and methamphetamine, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

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Thirty-six people were placed into custody and 11 are now considered fugitives. The arrests include a U.S. Border Patrol agent, Alexander Grindley, who was allegedly involved in meth trafficking on behalf of the cartel.

The agent's home in Brawley, Calif. was searched and investigators found paraphernalia related to the drug trade, including scales, baggies and meth, according to assistant U.S. attorney Kevin Mokhtari.

More than 400 federal, state and local law enforcement officials were involved in the coordinated takedown Wednesday morning, executing 25 search warrants in Central and Southern California, as well as Phoenix and Salem, Oregon.

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Adding together Wednesday's bust and previous related efforts, authorities have seized four kilograms of fentanyl, more than 324 kilograms of meth, "significant quantities" of cocaine and heroin and 52 firearms.

The fentanyl was used to make counterfeit oxycodone pills with dosages that could be lethal, Mokhtari said.

And the trafficking wasn't just straight drugs-for-cash exchanges, he said.

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"We identified that the source of supply in Mexico would trade guns for methamphetamine," Mokhtari said.

Crimes listed in the indictments include drug trafficking, money-laundering and gun offenses.

Sentences for the various indictments if convicted can range from 10 years to life in prison and millions of dollars in fines.

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