According to the LA Times, on Thursday federal prosecutors released information on the indictments and charges against 57 people who authorities believe used trucks to smuggle massive amounts of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine out of Mexico and into the U.S.
The drug traffickers allegedly used PVC piping hidden in the truck’s axels to smuggle the drugs.
To date, 18 of the 57 have been captured. The others remain at-large. One of the alleged traffickers is Miguel Angel Molinero-Castro. He is said to be the boss of the Molinero organization.
“Molinero is described as a prominent member of a ‘Mexican criminal organization,’ but authorities refused to be more specific, citing ongoing operations,” the LA Times reported.
The LA Times reports that the traffickers smuggled large quantities of drugs into Nogales, Arizona by way of trucks hauling legitimate loads from Mexico. Once the trucks reached their destinations, the dealers would distribute the drug-filled PVC pipes.
Authorities believe the method was used to traffic tremendous amounts of drugs into the U.S.
“The allegations here describe a wide-ranging conspiracy to exploit aspects of our nation’s trucking and transportation system and funnel enormous amounts of dangerous narcotics into this country,” said Andre Birotte Jr., U.S. attorney in Los Angeles.
Authorities began investigating the organization in early 2011 when they seized more than 2,400 pounds of methamphetamine, 30 kilograms of cocaine, 16 kilos of white heroin, 20 kilos of brown heroin and millions of dollars in cash.
“The criminal networks targeted in this case exploited one of the nation’s busiest transportation corridors to mask the movement of staggering amounts of contraband,” said Claude Arnold, a special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations. “The volume of methamphetamine being smuggled … is virtually unprecedented.”