Mexican cartel linked to Philly drug network

Authorities said Thursday that they have shut down a direct pipeline into the city by one of Mexico’s most dangerous drug cartels with the arrest of five people.

The arrests were the result of five months’ work, which included wiretaps conducted by the Dangerous Drug Offender’s Unit of the city District Attorney’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration in Philadelphia and El Paso, Texas, as well as the FBI.

Authorities arrested three people in the Northeast on Sept. 8, including the alleged distributor for the Sinaloa Cartel, which operates in the Mexican provinces of Sinaloa and Juarez. Two more people were arrested in Texas.

“These arrests have struck a serious blow to the Sinaloa Cartel’s efforts to establish a distribution center here in Philadelphia,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “This group has become notorious for acts of violence and intimidation of law enforcement and civilians in Mexico, so the impact of the success of this operation on the drug trade in Philadelphia is immeasurable.”

Through intercepted conversations, investigators said they learned that street-level dealers in Philadelphia were re-establishing a connection with Sinaloa. The plan, authorities said, was for Sinaloa to become the exclusive distributor of heroin, cocaine and marijuana to the Philadelphia group.

Officials would not release the names of the defendants, citing the ongoing investigation and possible retaliation against the defendants. The three men arrested here will be prosecuted by the DA’s office.

In addition to the arrests, authorities also recovered 10 kilograms of cocaine, several weapons, computers, houses and $7,000 in cash.

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