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02/25/2011

Multi-agency operation targets Mexican cartels in coordinated strike

WASHINGTON - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) - along with federal, state and local law enforcement officials from across the country - joined forces this week in a series of coordinated strikes against Mexican drug cartels and their associates. These unified, intelligence driven efforts are part of an ongoing and increasingly aggressive effort to degrade and ultimately eliminate the infrastructure and capabilities of the cartels.

During the coordinated operation across the United States, ICE and its law enforcement partners arrested 676 people and seized more than $12 million in U.S. currency, 467 kilos of cocaine, 21 pounds of heroin, 64 pounds of meth and nearly 40,000 pounds of marijuana, 282 weapons and 94 vehicles.

"ICE stands shoulder to shoulder with our U.S. law enforcement partners presenting a unified front and aggressively pushing back against these violent cartels," said ICE Director John Morton. "Through our continued coordination and cooperation with Mexican law enforcement, ICE agents and officers will strike at the very heart of these organizations by seizing the drugs, guns and money that fuel their criminal enterprises."

Last week, ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata was killed and ICE Special Agent Victor Avila was wounded during an attack in Mexico, serving as a stark reminder of the risks confronted by the men and women who serve to protect our communities from transnational criminal organizations.

These joint operations included hundreds of law enforcement agencies including ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), DEA, FBI, ATF, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (including the Border Patrol), U.S. Marshals Service, Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Attorneys' Offices across the country.

For more information, visit www.ice.gov.