Four alleged members of the Sinaloa drug cartel were arrested in Spain in August capping off a three-year long, multi-agency and country investigation into cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine trafficking that law enforcement officials hope will keep the drugs off the streets of New Hampshire and the United States.
At a press conference on Sept. 4, law enforcement officials unveiled the findings of its investigation, so far.
Manuel Jesus Guttierez Guzman, Rafael Humberto Celaya Valenzuela, Samuel Zazueta, and Jesus Soto, were all arrested on Aug. 7, in Algeciras, Spain, and charged with conspiracy.
According to U.S. Attorney of the , Guzman is the first cousin of Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman-Loera, the alleged head of the Sinaloa Cartel.
Kacavas stated that regional, federal, and international law enforcement agencies went undercover during the last three years to reportedly infiltrate the organization which was allegedly trying to find new ways to deliver drugs to the United States. The plan was to have the drugs smuggled from South America into Spain and then delivered into the United States, using ships. Federal authorities allege that the men would hide the drugs in the cargo bays of ships with pineapples and plantains. The new shipping routes between the nations were expected to allow between 1,000 kilos to 20 tons of cocaine to be delivered to the United States.
Investigators allege that undercover agents met with the drugs dealers in New Hampshire as well as other locations in the United States, Mexico, and Europe, to set up the shipping plan.
On June 7, Guttierez Guzman allegedly provided “multiple kilos” of heroin and methamphetamine to undercover agents in the first delivery of drugs to agents.
A dry run was put together in July, with the delivery of 346 kilos or about 754 pounds of cocaine, worth millions, from Brazil to Spain, Kacavas alleged.
In August, the men were arrested and charged. Guzman-Loera remains at large with a $5 million bounty on his head.
“The reason his indictment here is so very important is because it demonstrates the Department of Justice’s across-the-board commitment to identifying, disrupting, and dismantling drug trafficking operations regardless of where they seek to operate,” said Kacavas.
Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said the press conference showed that many investigators, from different agencies, could work together to combat drug dealing. He said the press conference also showed that the drug business was global and enforcement was complex.
“[Enforcement] requires a combined effort of law enforcement,” he said, “from the street level right up to the highest level of law enforcement. That’s really what you see here today.”
Davis said one of the special agents working in the city recently told him that it was the ability of everyone to communicate with each other “that gives us the ability to reach out and touch people who are bringing death to our city streets, whether it is Boston, Manchester, or Concord, New Hampshire. These organizations are directly affecting our children.”
Officials would not comment on where or how many times undercover agents met with the alleged dealers in the region during the investigation beyond saying that the meetings were held in Boston and New Hampshire. But investigators did say that these arrests should help to curb drugs from coming into New England.