Law enforcement officials in Houston and Galveston called their investigation “Operation Wrecking Ball.” At the end of the three-year probe, more than four dozen people were arrested on federal drug trafficking charges.
Officials said those arrested are involved in an organization allegedly linked to the Gulf Cartel and that together they peddle heroin and cocaine in Houston and Galveston through at least a half-dozen distribution cells in the area.
Federal authorities said “Operation Wrecking Ball” resulted in the arrests of 56 suspects and the seizure of more than $3.1 million, as well as 31 vehicles, 124 kilograms of cocaine and four kilos of heroin.
A prosecutor told the Houston Chronicle that “this is unique, the size and scope of this.”
Authorities said the trafficking network is run by a 48-year-old man in Mexico who supplies narcotics to the distribution cells in the two Texas cities. The illicit partnership is “just not something we see in Southeast Texas,” the prosecutor said.
It's believed that the drug distribution operation moved more than 100 kilos of cocaine from Mexico to Houston every month, a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration said. Both cocaine and heroin were also apparently transported as far away as New York, Atlanta and Miami as well.
The alleged ringleader has not been found, officials said.
Thirty-three people were arrested in Houston as more than 300 law enforcement agents executed 25 search warrants in the area.
Those facing drug trafficking allegations should decline to speak with investigators or prosecutors and should insist instead on speaking with an attorney experienced in drug trafficking defense.