Photo: Gulf Cartel
A sealed indictment lead to the round up of 12 alleged Gulf cartel members by federal authorities. The indictment named 52 people with only 13, including one woman, being identified.
The round up occurred in Starr County, Texas a few miles northeast from the U.S. Mexico border. Starr County has the highest percentage of Hispanic residents of any county in the U.S. according to the U.S. Census.
Raids were conducted in the area targeting individuals running marijuana and cocaine smuggling operations in the U.S. on behalf of the Gulf Cartel. The indictment and arrests were the result of a long-term investigation headed up by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
The majority of the drugs trafficked in northern Mexico and South Texas come from the Matamoros-based Gulf Cartel. The Gulf Cartel started in the 1930’s as chicken, liquor and tobacco smugglers. It was during the 1960s the Gulf Cartel began smuggling pot and coke.
The Gulf Cartel has strengthened its operations thanks to its alliance with the Sinaloa Cartel and the Knights Templar.
During the raids authorities seized 15,000 pounds of marijuana, 50 vehicles, 30 tractors, weapons and over $10,000 in cash. The suspects were arrested in their homes and their names were not immediately released. The suspects were both U.S. and Mexican citizens.
The individuals arrested are charged with drug trafficking, money laundering and other charges.