Arizona has huge bust of Sinaloa cartel dope operation

LA Times:
Arizona officials have arrested 76 people suspected in the smuggling of at least $2 billion worth of drugs through the state's western desert in coordination with Mexico's Sinaloa cartel.
“We in Arizona continue to stand and fight the Mexican drug cartels, who think they own the place,” Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said in a statement about the investigation, dubbed Operation Pipeline Express.
“While this is a historic drug bust, sadly this represents only a fraction of what my deputies face every day,” Babeu said.
The arrests were made during a series of recent raids.
Officials said the ring, based in Chandler, Stanfield and Maricopa, used backpackers and trucks to move drugs from the border to a network of stash houses in the Phoenix area. After arriving in Phoenix, the smugglers sold the drugs, which included marijuana, cocaine and heroin, to distributors from various states.
Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said the  smugglers succeeded at first because they had established control over an 80-mile stretch of the border from Yuma to Sells, Ariz.
"They had gained a virtual monopoly over a swath of the Arizona border," she said.
Kice said investigators believe some of those arrested are U.S.-based bosses in the Sinaloa cartel.
“Through our joint efforts, we’ve sent a resounding message to the Mexican cartels that Arizona is off limits to their operatives,” Matthew Allen, special agent in charge of Homeland Security investigations in Arizona, said in a statement.
... 
The glaring message I see coming from this story is that the cartel established control over an 80 mile stretch of the border.  That tells me Homeland Security is not doing its job.  They need to put a force on this border that establishes US control.  If they do not they will continue to have to make these arrests of dopers and not really stop the illegal entry into the country.  Hat tip to Fausta.

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