DEA Nabs 175 Mexican Drug Cartel Suspects

Nationwide initiative a key step in border drug war, authorities say
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2008 8:31 AM CDT
Military patrol the area where grenades exploded Monday in Morelia, Mexico. Two grenades were allegedly thrown by suspected drug cartel members into a crowd of thousands of Independence Day revelers.   (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
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(Newser) – US officials arrested 175 suspected Mexican drug traffickers this week in raids in a dozen states, the LA Times reports. Prosecutors believe the suspects are part of the violent Gulf cartel, considered to be a driving force in Mexico’s escalating drug wars. The raids were part of a 15-month DEA investigation that has netted 507 arrests and the seizure of more than $60 million.

One of the cartel’s regional hubs was found in Atlanta, where 43 were arrested. Another 66 suspects were nabbed throughout Texas. “We believe these arrests are a substantial blow to the Gulf cartel,” said a key official. Cartel violence has intensified since Mexican President Felipe Calderon began a crackdown initiative 22 months ago.