Project Delirium: Mexican Drug Cartel Busted

 @AmruthaGayathri
on July 22 2011 3:17 AM
La Familia
A soldier detains a suspected gunman after a shootout between soldiers and suspected members of the Michoacan cartel known as "La Familia" (The Family), at the town of Zamora, in Michoacan January 21, 2011. Reuters

Project Delirium, a 20-month multi-agency law enforcement investigation, which targeted the La Familia Michoacana drug cartel, has been successful in arresting approximately 1,985 individuals on narcotics-related charges, the Department of Justice (DoJ) announced today.

The ongoing takedown which began on June 1, 2011, saw the arrest of 221 individuals across the United States as part of Project Delirium, including more than 70 individuals apprehended yesterday and today. In addition, $770,499 in U.S. currency, 635 pounds of methamphetamine, 118 kilograms of cocaine, and 24 pounds of heroin were seized by law enforcement agents since June 1, 2011.

The arrests and seizures we are announcing today have stripped La Familia of its manpower, its deadly product, and its profit, and helped make communities large and small safer, Deputy Attorney General James Cole said.

La Familia Michoacana, or The Michoacan Family, is a Mexican organized crime syndicate whose recently deceased leader Nazario Moreno González aka El Más Loco (meaning The Craziest One), notoriously preached his organization's divine right to eliminate enemies.

According to an AP report, the drug linchpin published a bible of his own sayings and insisted that his army of traffickers and hitmen avoid using the narcotics they sell. 

The group, infamous for excessive violence, referred to their killings as divine justice and emphasized religious and family values during recruitment. The group placed banners in areas of operations claiming that it does not tolerate substance abuse or exploitation of women and children.

La Familia recruited members from drug rehabilitation clinics by helping addicts recover and then forced them into service for the drug cartel, Mexico Public Safety Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna said.

In July 2009 and November 2010, La Familia offered to retreat and disband their cartel, With the condition that both the Federal Government, and State and Federal Police commit to safeguarding the security of the state of Michoacán, a deal which was rejected by Mexican President Calderon's government.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) administrator Michele M. Leonhart said that the extensive arrests will strangle the cartel's distribution networks, which supplied most of the methamphetamine imported into the United States.

Project Delirium is the result of information gathered during the course of a previous effort targeting La Familia known as Project Coronado. According to a national press release issued by the FBI and DoJ, Project Delirium has led to the arrest of 1,985 individuals and the seizure of approximately $62 million in U.S. currency, and approximately 2,773 pounds of methamphetamine, 2,722 kilograms of cocaine, 1,005 pounds of heroin, 14,818 pounds of marijuana, and $3.8 million in other assets, to date.

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