Los Angeles, CA: 19 individuals are charged as part of an international organized crime syndicate. They are accused of trafficking and importing cocaine and other controlled substances from Mexico into the United States and Canada. Authorities apprehended ten individuals in various cities this week after two federal indictments were issued.
The indictments are related to an alleged scheme involving the transportation of illegal narcotics from Los Angeles to Canada or for distribution within the United States.
Authorities carried out arrest and search warrants on Tuesday, Jan. 30, in collaboration with international law enforcement partners in several cities, such as Los Angeles and Sacramento, California; Miami; Odessa, Texas; and the Canadian cities of Montreal, Toronto and Calgary.
Aside from the individuals who have been apprehended, two defendants were already in state custody, while seven defendants remain at large. Among the fugitives are three Mexican citizens who are accused of providing large quantities of narcotics to the traffickers in the United States and Canada.
As a result of the investigation, named “Operation Dead Hand,” 19 individuals have been charged in two federal grand jury indictments for their alleged involvement in the organized crime syndicate.
According to prosecutors, a group of individuals from various countries were involved in a criminal organization. This syndicate allegedly consisted of suppliers from Mexico, distributors from the U.S., an exportation leader from Canada, truck drivers based in Canada but operating in the United States, and a prominent Canadian trafficker and Italian organized crime figure named Robert Scoppa. Investigators claim that Scoppa was responsible for purchasing large quantities of drugs on a wholesale level.
Investigators uncovered details suggesting that the organized crime group employed individuals known as “handlers” and “dispatchers” who made brief trips from Canada to Los Angeles. The handlers organized the transportation of significant shipments of illegal substances, which were loaded onto trucks bound for Canada.
A significant amount of fentanyl was confiscated during the investigation. According to the indictments, a network of drivers collaborated with multiple trucking companies to facilitate transportation across the United States-Canada border. This involved numerous border crossings via the Detroit Windsor Tunnel, the Buffalo Peace Bridge, and the Blue Water Bridge.
The indictments detail the alleged involvement in significant drug trafficking activity, with a total of approximately 845 kilograms (1,860 pounds) of methamphetamine, 951 kilograms (2,092 pounds) of cocaine, 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of fentanyl, and four kilograms (nearly nine pounds) of heroin. Over $900,000 in cash was confiscated during the investigation. The estimated wholesale value of the narcotics seized was between $16 and $28 million.