Huge Mexican heroin ring busted in raid

11:48 AM | March 24, 2009

Federal and local law enforcement officials raided 38 locations across Southern California in what authorities described as a crackdown on a huge international heroin ring that distributed drugs across the region.

The raids capped a seven-month investigation by immigration officials, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the L.A. County Sheriff's Department into a ring that allegedly made $2 million a month selling heroin in suburban L.A. County as well as Ventura and San Diego counties.

L.A. Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore said the ring sold 15 to 20 kilos a week. It was operated by gang members in East L.A. and parts of the San Gabriel Valley, he added.

The heroin was shipped by sea or air from Mexico into the L.A. region to avoid detection by agents at the U.S.-Mexico border checkpoints -- then distributed through a hub of smaller dealers and wholesalers, Whitmore said.

U.S. Atty. Thomas O’Brien, Sheriff Lee Baca and Timothy Landrum, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, are among those expected to announce details of the massive operation this afternoon.

-- Richard Winton ... d-loc.html