Feds seize millions of dollars, drugs, firearms in massive cartel takedown

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Federal indictments were unsealed Thursday charging 75 people nationwide, 40 in San Diego, with involvement in an international money-laundering scheme.

Prosecutors said those charged have been involved with crimes ranging from drug distribution to money laundering.

Investigators seized more than $6 million, 95 kilograms of methamphetamine, 63 kilograms of heroin, 10 kilograms of fentanyl, 92 kilograms of cocaine, 252 kilograms of marijuana, and 20 firearms, including semiautomatic assault rifles and handguns.

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"We have siphoned the cash and the life out of a San Diego-based international money laundering organization with ties to the Sinaloa Cartel," U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman said. "By following the money, we have discovered large quantities of fentanyl, heroin and methamphetamine that are no longer destined for the streets of America."

According to the indictments, Jose Roberto Lopez-Albarran, described as a "significant" broker for a Mexican-based international money laundering group, laundered tens of millions of dollars in drug money from the U.S. to Mexico between 2015 and 2018.

Lopez-Albarran, who was arrested in San Diego on Feb. 9 and remains in custody, reportedly oversaw a network of co-conspirators to assist in transferring the millions to drug suppliers across the border, including individuals working for the Sinaloa Cartel.

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"Taking on and stopping transnational criminal organizations requires dedication and sacrifice," District Attorney Summer Stephan said. "As a result, this undercover operation has brought down high-level cartel associates and stopped the distribution of dangerous drugs like heroin and fentanyl in San Diego and cities across the U.S."

In addition to Lopez-Albarran, another defendant, Manuel Reynoso Garcia, and his co-conspirators were also charged in San Diego last month for money siphoning.

 

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