Massive Drug Trafficking Operation Unearthed in Southern California

Nine individuals from Southern California have been charged in relation to a significant drug trafficking operation. The charges were made public on Tuesday in Los Angeles as part of an effort to dismantle an organized crime network believed to be responsible for importing substantial amounts of narcotics from Mexico into Los Angeles. These drugs were then distributed throughout the United States and exported to Canada.

Nineteen defendants, including alleged importers, distributors, truck drivers, and large-scale buyers, are facing charges in two federal grand jury indictments. This operation marks a significant strike against organized crime, as stated by Donald Alway, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.

Investigators have disclosed that a ring of Canadian handlers and dispatchers orchestrated the collection and transportation of cocaine and methamphetamine in Los Angeles. The illicit substances were subsequently transported to Canada via long-haul semi-trucks, crossing the borders through the Detroit Windsor Tunnel, the Buffalo Peace Bridge, and the Blue Water Bridge.

In the operation, authorities confiscated around 1,860 pounds of methamphetamine, 2,092 pounds of cocaine, 44 pounds of fentanyl, and almost nine pounds of heroin. These drugs have an estimated total wholesale value ranging from $16 million to $28 million. Additionally, law enforcement seized nearly $1 million in cash during the course of the investigation.

Robert Scoppa, a Canadian drug trafficker linked to an Italian organized crime family in Montreal, has been among those arrested. The U.S. Attorney’s Office emphasized Scoppa’s role in the operation.

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The FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and other agencies collaborated in a comprehensive investigation. The authorities made this announcement during a news conference held in Westwood.

Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore highlighted the cross-border nature of the operation, underscoring the fact that organized crime knows no boundaries.

Carlos Barragan, Corell Carbajal Garcia, Esteban Sinhue Mercado, Daniel Antonio Trejo Huerta, Ignacio Lopez, Orlando Velasco Jr., Angel Larry Sandoval, Jorge Pina Nicols, and Bryan Ureta Valenzuela are among the defendants who are being charged with drug trafficking and drug exportation conspiracies at the federal level. If found guilty, they could face severe penalties, ranging from 40 years to life imprisonment.

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