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2.5 Tons of Methamphetamine and



        100,000 Fentanyl Pills Interdicted



        Two Mexican Drug Traffickers Charged out of the Southern District of

        New York with Conspiring to Import Large Quantities of Narcotics into

        the United States

        NEW YORK – Ray Donovan, Special  potentially kill untold numbers of peo-  Las  Arenitas,  Sinaloa,  Mexico,  north-
        Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug En-  ple in the United States.”          west  through  the  Gulf  of  California.
        forcement Administration  New  York                                       Approximately several hours later, the
        Division,  Audrey  Strauss,  the  United   “Those arrested allegedly sought to traf-  Mexican Navy interdicted the vessel in
        States  Attorney  for  the  Southern  Dis-  fic thousands of fentanyl pills and mul-  or around Topolobampo, Sinaloa, Mex-
        trict  of  New  York,  Peter  C.  Fitzhugh,   tiple  tons  of  methamphetamine,  which   ico, and arrested Gastelum-Torres and
        Special  Agent  in  Charge  of  the  New   would  only  exacerbate  the  plague  cur-  Gastelum-Vega.  Mexican Navy officers
        York  Division  of  Homeland  Security   rently devastating our community while   seized  approximately  960  plastic  con-
        Investigations, and Dermot Shea, Com-  steadily increasing addictions and over-  tainers from the boat, which contained
        missioner of the New York City Police   dose deaths,” said HSI Special Agent in   approximately 2.5 tons of methamphet-
        Department, announced that Jose Lore-  Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh.  “The Strike   amine and 100,000 pills of fentanyl.
        to Gastelum-Torres and Fredy Alejan-  Force has been a proven model for suc-
        dro  Gastelum-Vega  were  charged  in  a   cess in dismantling transnational narcot-  Gastelum-Torres, 53, and Gastelum-Ve-
        criminal complaint in Manhattan federal   ics trafficking organizations.  HSI show-  ga, 33, of Mexico, are charged with con-
        court with conspiring to import approx-  cased our unique value at the Strike Force  spiring to import at least 500 grams of
        imately  2.5  tons  of  methamphetamine   in this case by leveraging our border re-  methamphetamine and at least 400 grams
        and 100,000 fentanyl pills into the Unit-  sources  to  not  only  effectively  address  of fentanyl into the United States, which
        ed States.  The charge arises from a Jan-  threats and vulnerabilities but moreover  carries a mandatory minimum sentence
        uary 29, 2021 seizure by Mexico’s Sec-  promote collaboration in furthering these  of  10  years  in  prison  and  a  maximum
        retaría de Marina (the “Mexican Navy”)   investigations, making timely and signif-  sentence of life in prison.  The maximum
        of  approximately  2.5  tons  of  metham-  icant arrests, and stopping deadly drugs  potential sentences in this case are pre-
        phetamine and 100,000 fentanyl pills in   from flooding our streets.”     scribed  by  Congress  and  are  provided
        Sinaloa, Mexico.                     Police  Commissioner  Dermot  Shea   here for informational purposes only, as
                                                                                  any sentencing of the defendants would
        “There is a tidal wave of fentanyl and   said:  “Today’s charges demonstrate that   be determined by the judge.
        methamphetamine  being  pushed  from   the investigative efforts of the NYPD in
        Mexico into the United States,” said DEA   coordination with our law enforcement  This case is part of an Organized Crime
        Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan.    partners  are  far-reaching  and  focused.   Drug  Enforcement  Task  Forces  Strike
        “Case in point, these two traffickers were   As  long  as  individuals,  wherever  they  Force Initiative, which provides for the
        allegedly  caught  red-handed  with  over   may be, are involved in illegal narcotics  establishment of permanent multi-agen-
        $90  million  dollars’  worth  of  fentanyl   trafficking, the NYPD and our partners  cy task force teams  that  work side-
        and  methamphetamine.   Traffickers  see   will relentlessly work to end the threat  by-side  in  the  same  location.    This
        opportunities when drug overdoses rise,   to public safety.  I commend and thank  co-located  model  enables  agents  from
        and  they  are  trying  to  flood  American   the  NYPD  investigators,  members  of  different agencies to collaborate on in-
        markets with these synthetic, highly ad-  the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement  telligence-driven,  multi-jurisdictional
        dictive, and dangerous drugs.  DEA and   Strike Force Initiative, agents from the  operations to disrupt and dismantle the
        our law enforcement partners will contin-  New  York  Division  of  the  U.S.  Drug  most significant drug traffickers, mon-
        ue to target drug networks to keep Amer-  Enforcement Administration, and the at-  ey launderers, gangs, and transnational
        icans safe and save lives.”          torneys at the United States Attorney’s  criminal organizations.
                                             Office, Southern District, for their dedi-
        Manhattan  U.S.  Attorney  Audrey  cation to this investigation.          This  investigation  was  conducted  by
        Strauss said:  “Thanks to the DEA, HSI,                                   the  OCDETF  New  York  Strike  Force
        the NYPD, and the rest of our OCDETF   As alleged in the Complaint unsealed in  in partnership with the DEA’s law en-
        New York Strike Force partners, as well   federal court[1]:               forcement partners.  The OCDETF New
        as the Mexican Navy, a major shipment   On or about January 29, 2021, the Mex-  York Strike Force is comprised of fed-
        of potentially lethal drugs was interdict-  ican  Navy  located  and  began  tracking   eral,  state,  and  local  law  enforcement
        ed  before  it  could  addict,  poison,  and   an outboardpowered boat traveling from   agencies  supported  by  OCDETF  and
                                                                                  the New York/New Jersey High Inten-

        6  — NARCOTIC OFFICERS MAGAZINE™  JUNE 2021
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