Feds arrest over 600 alleged Mexican cartel members
The Department of Justice (DOJ) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced Wednesday that more than 600 arrests have been made as a result of an interagency operation cracking down on Mexican cartel activity.
“Project Python,” a DEA-led initiative, targeted members of Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG). According to the DEA, over the last six months federal law enforcement officials have been monitoring the activities of the accused.
The operation resulted in more than 600 arrests nationwide, 350 indictments and “significant seizures of money and drugs,” according to the agencies.
“Project Python marks the most comprehensive action to date in the Department of Justice’s campaign to disrupt, dismantle, and ultimately destroy CJNG,” Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski said in a statement.
Benczkowski cited an executive order President Trump passed shortly after Trump was inaugurated in 2017 that condemned cartel operations in the U.S. and directed federal law enforcement to use the Threat Mitigation Working Group, which was put in place by the Obama administration in 2011.
“When President Trump signed an Executive Order prioritizing the dismantlement of transnational criminal organizations, the Department of Justice answered the call and took direct aim at CJNG. We deemed CJNG one of the highest-priority transnational organized crime threats we face,” he said. “And with Project Python, we are delivering results in the face of that threat for the American people.”
According to the DOJ, CJNG is active in major U.S. cities such as Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Houston and Atlanta.
The DOJ and DEA also announced a superseding indictment Wednesday on charges of alleged continuing criminal enterprise against Nemesio Ruben Oseguera Cervantes, also known as “El Mencho,” the leader of CJNG.
Last month Oseguera Cervantes’s son was extradited from Mexico to the U.S. to be served drug trafficking charges. Two weeks ago, on Feb. 26, his daughter was arrested by federal officials for financial crimes.