Drugs

DEA arrests 14 cartel members in Texas, seizes drugs and money

Federal and state law enforcement in El Paso, Texas have arrested 14 member of the Orrantia Drug Trafficking Organization, including ringleader Mario Armando Orrantia.

One arrest took place Tuesday night while the other 13 were Wednesday. 

The suspects are facing drug trafficking charges, according to an announcement from U.S. Attorney Richard Durbin and Special Agent in Charge Will Glaspy of the DEA’s El Paso office. 

During the investigation, law enforcement seized about five kilograms of cocaine, 600 kilograms of marijuana, seven vehicles and almost $140,000. 

“This week, DEA and our federal, state and local law enforcement partners severely disrupted the Orrantia Drug Trafficking Organization operating here in El Paso”, said Glaspy in a statement.

A federal grand jury indicted 12 of the suspects on conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, five suspects on conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, seven on substantive drug possession with intent to distribute, 10 on conspiracy to commit money laundering, and one on bulk cash smuggling. 

“This organization was disguising criminal activity in the form of legitimate business and threatening the safety of the communities in which we work and live. DEA, along with our law enforcement partners, remains committed to bringing to justice those who import and then distribute illegal drugs in our communities,” said Glaspy’s statement. 

Authorities said the organization would smuggle hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and marijuana into the El Paso area and transport it for distribution to locations around the United States including Ohio, South Carolina and Colorado. They would also take the cash  profits from the drugs and launder it, according to authorities. 

The suspects remain in federal custody. All but two face ten years to life in prison. The other two face up to 20 and up to five years. 

Ray Bogan is a Fox News multimedia reporter based in El Paso, Texas. Follow him on twitter: @RayBogan