UNITED STATES−In a joint effort, the United States Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration arrested 600 members of the Mexican Drug Cartel as revealed on March 11. The success of the DEA led operative was the result of Project Python.
According to the press release, Project Python led to 350 indictments. According to American Military News, one report indicated that over 15,000 kilos of meth and close to $20 million were seized during the raid.
“Project Python marks the most comprehensive action to date in the Department of Justice’s campaign to disrupt, dismantle, and ultimately destroy CJNG,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Criminal Division.
“When President Trump signed an Executive Order prioritizing the dismantlement of transnational criminal organizations, the Department of Justice answered the call and took direct aim at CJNG. We deemed CJNG one of the highest-priority transnational organized crime threats we face. And with Project Python, we are delivering results in the face of that threat for the American people.”
Benczkowski said that investigators will be able to use the data collected in Project Python to “identify and map out the cartel’s logistical nodes and pathways.”
“Project Python shows that with close cooperation and clarity of mission, we can take the fight to one of the largest and most dangerous drug cartels on the planet,” Benczkowski added.
“Project Python is the single largest strike by U.S. authorities against CJNG, and this is just the beginning,” said DEA Acting Administrator, Uttam Dhillon. “This strategic and coordinated project exemplifies DEA’s mission: to disrupt, dismantle, and destroy drug trafficking organizations around the world and bring their leaders to justice. Today, DEA has disrupted CJNG’s operations, and there is more to come as DEA continues its relentless attack on this remorseless criminal organization. This is just the beginning.”
The DOJ is enforcing Executive Order 13773, enacted on February 9, to identify, interdict, disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organizations.
In addition, a superseding indictment on charges against Nemesio Ruben Oseguera Cervantes, also known as “El Mencho,” the leader of the CJNG was yielded. According to reports, Cervantes’s son, “El Menchito,” was extradited from Mexico on drug trafficking charges and is facing charges in Washington D.C. El Mencho’s daughter was also arrested for financial crimes later in the month.
El Mencho has been designated by the U.S. Department of Treasury as a distinct narcotics trafficker: pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act and the U.S. Department of State which issued a $10 million reward; one of the largest narcotics rewards ever, for information leading to the arrest of El Mencho.