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29 in Drug Cartel Arrested; 70 Tons of Marijuana, Ton of Cocaine Seized

September 10, 1987|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Twenty-nine people have been arrested, and more than 70 tons of marijuana and nearly one ton of cocaine have been seized in five cities in the breakup of a major international drug cartel, Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese III announced Wednesday.

Meese said the yearlong investigation involved use of Drug Enforcement Administration agents as middlemen for distributing marijuana and cocaine to Atlanta, Denver, Detroit, New York City and West Palm Beach, Fla.

The operation culminated Tuesday with the last of the arrests, the drug seizures and the confiscation of $1.35 million in cash and $650,000 in property, he said.

Among those arrested, Meese said, were three Colombians whom he described as "major movers in the cartel." He said two of the three flew to Miami after they were told that they would be paid for their efforts there. A third lives in Miami.

Meese depicted the seizure as "a successful blow" to drug trafficking, brushing aside questions from Capitol Hill about the extent of the operation's impact on the flow of drugs into the United States.

"We are producing results on the demand-and-supply front," Meese said at a news conference. "We know that it is more costly and difficult for drug traffickers to operate."

John C. Lawn, administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said the Colombia-based drug trafficking organization has been operating for at least 10 years.

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