HSI Nogales, partner agencies disrupt transnational drug trafficking organization
NOGALES, Ariz. – On July 7, the United States and Mexican law enforcement announced significant enforcement actions against a prolific transnational drug trafficking organization operating in Nogales, Sonora, along the U.S.-Mexico border. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) continues to investigate transnational criminal organizations in partnership with DEA both domestically and internationally. U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have also played significant roles in the fight against drug trafficking.
After extensive bilateral cooperation between the United States and Mexico, Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office, Fiscalía General de la República, conducted a significant enforcement operation on June 23 to dismantle a prolific transnational drug trafficking organization operating in Nogales, Sonora, along the U.S.–Mexico border. The operation resulted in the arrest of five people and the seizure of 120,000 fentanyl pills, 15 pounds of methamphetamine, 17 pounds of heroin, 15 pounds of cocaine, 3 assault rifles, one 9mm handgun, and a vehicle.
In addition, seven U.S.-based coordinators and operators with alleged ties to the same drug-trafficking organization have been arrested and indicted in the United States. Gerardo Bernal-Mazon, 29, Ashley Bernal, 31, Jessica Yesenia Valenzuela, 32, and Delyanira Lovio, 29, all of Nogales, Arizona, Juan Murillo, 48, of Rio Rico, Arizona, and Lilian Sugey Siegfried, 38, of Tucson, Arizona, were indicted by a federal grand jury on drug trafficking charges on Feb. 2, 2023. George Armenta-Vasquez, 45, of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Jan. 25, 2023.
“Transnational drug trafficking organizations pose an unprecedented public safety threat to both the United States and Mexico,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “These coordinated law enforcement actions demonstrate the success our countries can have when we work together to meet that threat.”
This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
Support from DEA–Mexico City Country Office and FGR’s Agencia de Investigación Criminal was critical in providing coordination between United States and Mexican law enforcement agencies. The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs provided assistance.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona in Tucson is prosecuting the seven individuals named above.
HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’ largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.