Police In Arizona Arrest 20, Dismantle Drug Trafficking Cell of Sinaloa Cartel

By: CNN - Posted by Giang Nguyen
By: CNN - Posted by Giang Nguyen
Authorities in Tempe, Arizona, dismantled a drug trafficking cell associated with Mexico

Mexican federal police officers escort Alfredo Beltran Leyva, known as "El Mochomo, upon his arrival at the Mexico City's airport, Monday, Jan. 21, 2008. Beltran was allegedly in charge of transporting drugs, bribing officials and laundering money for the Sinaloa drug cartel, led by Mexico's most-wanted alleged drug lord Joaquin Guzman. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

(CNN) -- Authorities in Tempe, Arizona, dismantled a drug trafficking cell associated with Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel, arresting 20 people and seizing three tons of marijuana, 30 pounds of methamphetamine and $2.4 million in cash, police said.

A six-month investigation by Tempe police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency also concluded with the seizure of an airplane, 10 vehicles and 14 firearms, police said Friday.

The cartel delivered illegal drugs in Tempe and branched out to customers in New York, Alabama, California and other states, police said.

"This operation demonstrated a collaborative effort by state and federal law enforcement agencies," Tempe Chief of Police Tom Ryff said in a statement.

The drug trafficking "stretched across the Mexico border and into Arizona and beyond," said Doug Coleman, special agent in charge of the DEA's Phoenix office.

The Sinaloa Cartel is one of Mexico's most powerful drug-trafficking groups, and cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera is widely known as Mexico's most-wanted fugitive. Forbes magazine has placed him on its list of the world's most powerful people, reporting his net worth at $1 billion as of March.

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