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60 suspected members of an IRAQI/SINALOA DRUG-TRAFFICKING organization arrested – latimes.com

August 19, 2011

Law enforcement agents allegedly bought narcotics, firearms and explosives at this El Cajon building from a social club with possible ties to the Sinaloa Cartel and an Iraqi crime syndicate. (Lenny Ignelzi / Associated Press)

Suspected members of an Iraqi drug-trafficking organization are arrested

Authorities in El Cajon arrest 60 suspects and seize more than $630,000 in cash, as well as marijuana and high-powered guns and explosives from an El Cajon group, which allegedly has ties to a Mexican cartel and organized crime in Detroit.

By Robert J. Lopez and Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times

August 19, 2011

Sixty reputed members of an Iraqi drug-trafficking organization in El Cajon have been arrested and authorities seized more than $630,000 in cash, 3,500 pounds of marijuana, dozens of high-powered firearms and several explosive devices, law enforcement officials said Thursday.

The organization was run out of a social club and has suspected links to the ruthless Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico and an Iraqi organized crime syndicate in Detroit, according to law enforcement officials.

The social club, located on East Main Street, has been a “hub of criminal activity conducted by Iraqi organized crime,” El Cajon police Chief Pat Sprecco said.

According to authorities, over the last decade the club has been the center of other investigations for alleged drug sales, gambling, car theft and gun smuggling.

The undercover investigation that led to the latest arrests and seizures, dubbed Operation Shadowbox, has been underway since January as investigators gathered evidence, arrested suspects and served search warrants. A search warrant was served Wednesday at the club, where authorities seized $16,000 and uncovered evidence of illegal gambling, Sprecco said.

via 60 suspected members of an Iraqi drug-trafficking organization arrested – latimes.com.

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