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Narcotics agents arrest suspected cartel member in Oklahoma City

Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics agents said they arrested a suspected Mexican drug cartel leader during a raid this morning.
BY RON JACKSON Modified: June 29, 2010 at 7:08 pm •  Published: June 29, 2010

Drug agents arrested a suspected high-ranking Mexican Sinaloa Cartel member in north Oklahoma City this morning during a raid an Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics official said will send shock waves through the law enforcement community.

The target — a 35-year-old Mexican national — represents the strongest evidence to date that the Sinaloa Cartel is trying to establish a foothold in Oklahoma City, which has traditionally been the territory of the equally notorious Juarez Cartel, OBN Executive Director Darrell Weaver said.

The suspect's name as well as the names of others arrested during the sting operation is being withheld because of sealed warrants, OBN spokesman Mark Woodward said. The investigation is ongoing.

"This is a disturbing case," said Weaver, whose agents helped serve 18 arrest warrants and 13 search warrants in an operation that stretched from Tulsa to Elk City. Warrants also were served in Mustang and Norman. At least nine people ranging from users to suppliers were arrested this morning, authorities said.

Undercover agents became aware of their main suspect three months ago, after Arizona passed Senate Bill 1070 — the new immigration law that allows police to search anyone for valid documentation of citizenship.

"Our target received a dispatch from Mexico, and was told to leave Phoenix because of the new immigration law," said an undercover case agent whose name is being withheld to protect his identity. "He was told to set up shop in Oklahoma City. Fortunately, in a very short time, we learned of his presence and were able to infiltrate his operation."

Agents discovered a lucrative operation, and according to the undercover agent, an "established market" from a previous drug ring. Undercover surveillance revealed that an average of 10 pounds of methamphetamine was being shipped into Oklahoma City a week, Weaver said. Ten pounds of methamphetamine can net anywhere from $180,000 to $210,000 on the streets, depending on its purity.

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