Feds Take Down Sinaloa Drug Cartel Members

LOS ANGELES (CN) — Seven alleged members of the Sinaloa drug cartel were arrested Thursday in Southern California, on a federal indictment against 22 people, one of whom already is in prison and 14 of whom are believed to be in Mexico.

Twenty-two defendants are named in the 19-count indictment, which was returned on April 7 and unsealed Thursday.

The two-year investigation from the Los Angeles Strike Force, which included wiretaps, has seized $6 million worth of drugs, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Seizures include 290 lbs. of methamphetamine, 280 lbs. of cocaine, 30 lbs. of heroin, 81 lbs. of marijuana, 33 guns, three vehicles with hidden compartments and $1.3 million in cash.

The 10 counts include conspiracy, drug trafficking, money laundering and weapons offenses.

From their Los Angeles base, the defendants distributed the drugs throughout the country and sent the money back to Mexico, according to the indictment.

“The stream of narcotics coming into the United States fuels violence in local neighborhoods and contributes to the current drug epidemic in the United States,” said Deirdre Fike, assistant director of the FBI field office in Los Angeles.

Defendant Fernando Madueno Sanchez is already in a California prison on charges unrelated to the indictment.

Arrested Thursday morning were Julian Rocha, 33; Froilan Villarreal; Maria Ernestina Limon Elenes, 64, all of Azusa; Oscar Valdovinos Arredondo, 53, of Bakersfield; Antonio Enrique Orozco, of Long Beach; Martin Ruiz Saldana and Audrey Rose Urrea.

The lead defendant is Jeuri Limon Elenes, whose mother, Maria Ernestina Limon Elenes, was among those arrested.

Also charged in the indictment, and believed to be in Mexico, are Jaime Omar Salazar Rosas, Jesus Abel Cazares Elenes, Noel Elenes Higuera, Eonofre Valdez Elenes, Octavio Galindo Jr., Edgar Limon, Maria Guadalupe Lopez Zamora, Diana Margarita Ortega Garcia, Fernando Madueno Sanchez, Jesus Cazarez Sandoval, and four people known only by their gang handles.

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