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ICE helps arrest 24 high-level cartel members

Posted at 11:32 PM, Jan 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-31 09:30:47-05

LUKEVILLE, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) aided in the arrest of 24 members of the Sinaloa Cartel Friday during an operation dubbed Mexican Operation Diablo Express.

ICE spokesperson, Gillian Christensen, confirmed the arrests Saturday evening. She says ICE joined other agencies like DEA, FBI, CBP, DPS, and even the Scottsdale Police Department in the operation. They worked with the Mexican government to bring Mexican federal police into the United States to help them safely execute their operation in Mexico.

Diablo Express targeted high-level members of the Sinaloa Cartel operating in and around Sonoyta, Sonora. Christensen says that specific Sinaloa cell is responsible for smuggling drugs like marijuana, heroin, meth, and cocaine into the United States. They also smuggled weapons and money into Mexico.

KGUN9 learned about the operation Friday afternoon, but Christensen, says they conducted the operation "with utmost secrecy to maintain the element of surprise and to ensure the safety of the Mexican law enforcement officers executing it."

Mexican police arrested 24 members of the Sinaloa Cartel. During the arrest, authorities also seized weapons and hundreds of pounds of narcotics. Christensen says this "strikes a strong blow to the Sinaloa Cartel."

The arrested cartel members remain in custody of the Mexican government.

Christensen says, "U.S. authorities will seek the extradition of those who were arrested during the operation and face criminal charges in the U.S."