Heroin Ring Take-Down Starts in Middle Tennessee

An investigation to take down a Mexican drug ring started here in Nashville and has led to more than 150 arrests around the country. U-S Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez announced the operation’s findings (today/yesterday) even as local law enforcement was making arrests.

Drug Enforcement Agency officials say the Mexican-based organization was made up of mostly illegal immigrants based in 15 cities. They used a well-run corporate model to move heroin around the country inside color-coded rubber balloons. The members even had titles like district manager.

The defendants are charged with drug trafficking and money laundering. U-S Attorney for Middle Tennessee Jim Vines says the ring would target its sales at drug addicts who were leaving treatment facilities.

“This case is unusual at least in modern times, in that it relates to very large distribution of the drug heroin. The more things change, the more they tend to stay the same and a drug that many of us haven’t paid much attention to in several years now has stuck its ugly head back up again.”

By (the end of the day/this morning) Vines estimates 27 arrests in Nashville. He says the formal investigation has concluded, but the blitz on heroin will continue. More than 20-pounds of the drug has already been confiscated in Middle Tennessee.

D-E-A agents say they have seen a rise in heroin-use among high schoolers and warn parents to be especially aware of the deadly drug.

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