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US and Mexico collaboration leads to arrest of cartel leader

MEXICO CITY - The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)-led Mexico City Border Enforcement Security Taskforce (BEST), consisting of Mexico's Secretariat of Public Security (SSP), along with Mexico's Office of the Attorney General (PGR) Specialized Investigative Unit for Organized Crime (SIEDO), executed an enforcement operation in Jalisco, Mexico, on Saturday which resulted in the arrest of cartel members associated with the leadership of the Sinaloa Federation's methamphetamine production operation. This organization is responsible for smuggling narcotics from Mexico to the United States and bulk currency from the United States back to Mexico.

The enforcement operation led to the arrest of Margarito "El Tigre" Soto Reyes and eight of his associates. The individuals arrested are all Mexican nationals. Additionally, authorities seized approximately $90,000, two methamphetamine laboratories, five kilograms of methamphetamine and three rifles. The arrests and seizures are the result of the close working and collaborative relationship between the United States and the Mexican authorities.

Soto Reyes assumed control of the Sinaloa Federation's methamphetamine trafficking, production and supply chain in July 2010 and it is estimated that his operation has sent nearly half a ton of methamphetamine to the United States.

In October 2009, ICE HSI special agents in Chicago initiated an investigation into the drug trafficking and money laundering activities of the "El Tigre" drug trafficking organization.  At the request of ICE HSI special agents in Chicago, ICE's attaché in Mexico City and Mexico City BEST officers conducted an investigation confirming that several members of this organization live and operate in Jalisco.

U.S. and Mexican investigators continue to follow-up on all in investigative leads resulting from the arrests on Saturday.

The ICE Office of International Affairs is responsible for enhancing national security by conducting and coordinating international investigations. With agents in over 65 locations around the world, including Mexico City, the ICE Office of International Affairs works with their foreign counterparts to identify and combat transnational criminal organizations before they threaten the United States.

Additionally, ICE has partnered with federal, state, local and foreign law enforcement counterparts to create the BEST initiative, a series of multi-agency teams developed to identify, disrupt and dismantle criminal organizations posing significant threats to border security. The teams are designed to increase information sharing and collaboration among the agencies combating this threat on both sides of the border.