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U.S. Cracks Down on Southwest Border Drug Trafficking

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By Kamika Dunlap on June 16, 2010 1:55 PM

In an effort to fight the Mexican drug trafficking operations on the country's Southwest border, the Obama Administration has delivered a blow to transportation networks controlled by major Mexican drug cartels moving drugs, guns and money. The operation was a huge dragnet which netted tons of drugs and hundreds of suspects, and was a part of two-year, multi-agency effort to crack down on drug trafficking.

The operation, dubbed "Project Deliverance," involved law enforcement raids across 16 states and a massive takedown, the Los Angeles Times reports.

A total of 2,266 people were arrested in 16 states, including a top Mexican cartel leader, and federal agents seized nearly 75 million tons of drugs and confiscated $154 million in cash.

In general, drug distribution/trafficking laws penalize the selling, transportation, and illegal import into the United States of unlawful controlled substances such as marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD, "club drugs," and heroin.

Federal and state drug distribution/trafficking laws and punishments vary according to drug type, amount, geographic area of distribution, and whether minors were sold to or targeted.

Drug distribution/trafficking laws can implicate a single individual or a broad ring of people involved in organized illegal drug activity.

In this case, officials said the focus of the raids also was to investigate deadly cartels from the Southwest border and their sophisticated "smuggling techniques."

For example, the Drug Enforcement Administration found hundreds of cars, buses and trucks with cash and drugs hidden in gas tanks, air bags and behind trapdoors.

In what was billed as the largest U.S. dragnet in the war on drugs in the Southwest border area, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said the raids are striking at the heart of criminal smuggling operations.

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