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DEA agents bust nationwide Sinaloa Cartel drug ring that involved secret passages, tunnel in Delaware home

June 9, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
DEA agents bust nationwide Sinaloa Cartel drug ring that involved secret passages, tunnel in Delaware home

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DEA Officials have announced the arrest of several suspects involved in a high-volume California-to-Delaware Sinaloa Cartel cocaine trafficking enterprise that included secret passages, hidden compartments, and tunnels.

The suspects transported cocaine into Delaware hidden inside welded-closed oxygen tanks and then used the tanks to smuggle back hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, the indictment, revealed by Delaware’s acting U.S. Attorney David Weiss, stated.

The Delaware man who received the drug for distribution also built a sophisticated tunnel concealed behind a false fireplace in one of his residences. Police allege that he was had 100 marijuana plants in that tunnel, which was 2,000 square feet with a 20-foot ceiling.

Federal agents discovered a sophisticated tunnel that housed a marijuana-growing operation underneath a home in Bear. US DOJ

The tunnel also contained a hydroponic grow lab, according to Shawn Ellerman, acting special agent in charge of the Philadelphia DEA.

“That tunnel was something that the DEA deals with in the southwest part of the country,” Ellerman stated. “Members of this trafficking organization are associates of the Sinaloa cartel.”

Authorities say Roque Valdez and Mohamad Aviles Camberos delivered kilos of drugs to properties owned by Omar Morales Colon, who gave them money and then sold the illicit substances to customers in Delaware and elsewhere.

Such deals have taken place at least four times since December at a Christiana hotel. On the first three trips, Valdez and Camberos delivered 20 kilos of cocaine.

U.S Department of Justice

On May 6th, law enforcement alleges that Valdez and Camberos gave Colon a note on which said “$393,400,” the price Colon was to pay for the drugs, WDEL reported.

Colon came with $382,000 and gave Valdez and Camberos a garage door opener for a residence where they were to deliver the cocaine.

In the following days, police confiscated two vehicles; about $10,500 recovered in Colon’s home; about $355,900 discovered in a Ford Explorer in Pennsylvania; and roughly $167,000 located in a storage unit.

Under Colon’s residence in Bear, he apparently had built a tunnel unlike anything drug enforcement officials in the area are accustomed, said Special Agent Patrick Trainor, the public information officer for the DEA in Philadelphia.

An unsuspecting home in the Bear, Delaware was actually a cover for a drug distribution ring with links south of the border, according to federal authorities.

“I have seen a lot of what we would refer to as ‘trapped-out’ cars. I’ve seen false rooms and false walls, but nothing to this extent,” Trainor said.

Indoor growing operations aren’t unique, even those in which an entire residence has been committed to establishing the kind of technologically advanced hydroponic setup discovered on the property.

“It’s not a huge amount,” Trainor added. “But, we have not seen it quite like this.”

The association with Mexican cartels is still under investigation, but Trainor said the Sinaloa cartel is primarily responsible for heroin and cocaine trafficking on the East Coast.

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