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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkNews from Around the Americas | December 2006 

South Texas Drug Bust is Huge
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"As a prosecutor you think you've seen it all," said U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton. "Then something like that (drugs in underwear) occurs."
San Antonio, TX - A San Antonio-based cocaine smuggling drug has been put out of business by the Drug Enforcement Agency, resulting in the seizure of 210 kilograms of cocaine, $4.5 million in cash and arrests of 29 people, including an elementary school teacher and an elderly woman, officials said Wednesday.

Joe Arabit, special agent in charge for the DEA, said that the ring had been in operation for the past few years and had its roots in San Antonio, Floresville and Eagle Pass.

"Numerous retail distributors will now be looking for another source of supply because we have arrested the leader of the San Antonio-based organization," Arabit said.

The investigation began in the summer of 2005 with a tip from informants, Arabit said.

The drugs were smuggled from Mexico and distributed throughout Texas, Tennessee and Ohio, Arabit said.

The proceeds from the sale of the drugs were then smuggled in containers of powdered detergent and large buckets of construction material.

But perhaps what surprised authorities the most was who was allegedly involved in the operation - a fourth-grade teacher from League who allegedly helped in the money laundering and an 81-year-old woman, who was caught transported the drugs in her underwear.

"As a prosecutor you think you've seen it all," said U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton. "Then something like that (drugs in underwear) occurs."

"It just shows you that people will go into this business to make money and sell this poison in our community. And we will go after them, no matter their age."

Some of the suspects remain in federal custody while others are out on bond, Sutton said. Each of them faces 10 years to life in prison if found guilty in a jury trial.

Sutton said that nine fugitives are still on the run. Some are believed to be in Mexico.



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