Posted on April 11, 2013 at 10:15 AM
Thursday, Apr 11 at 9:21 PM
AUSTIN -- Federal agents brought down two Mexican drug networks operating in Central Texas. The U.S. Attorney’s Office unveiled more than two dozen indictments Thursday.
Federal, state and local law enforcement worked together to track and bring down the drug rings. Thirty-seven people are now in custody.
"A large scale organization, very well structured, very well organized, with the shots being called by bosses in Mexico," said DEA agent Greg Thrash.
According to the indictments, the defendants are facing numerous charges, including conspiracy to possess and intent to distribute drugs, including methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and marijuana.
Agents released photos of the seizures. One bust uncovered 75 kilograms of meth.
In one of the operations, investigators say the drugs were coming in to an Austin business called JT Body and Paint. That’s where it was prepared and then shipped out around Austin and in other cities, including Dallas and Oklahoma City.
In the other operation, agents tracked the drugs in from the Rio Grande Valley. During one of the smuggling runs, officers found 20 kilograms of cocaine hidden inside an 18-wheeler truck.
Several people are also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering. In all, agents say they seized more than $1 million linked to drug sales based of these operations.
The body shop is located in an industrial area about a quarter of a mile from a neighborhood.
One man who has worked in the area for three years told KVUE Thursday that the neighborhood was drug-infested when he first got there but says he is seeing some improvement.
“The city's been cleaning it up. I see a lot more hippies. I see a lot more people riding bikes. It's more friendlier so I didn't expect for this to be one of my neighboring businesses,” the man said to KVUE.
The agencies involved include The U.S. Attorney's Office, DEA, FBI, IRS, Austin police, Round Rock police, DPS, Cedar Park Police, ICE, US Marshals, Travis County Sheriff's Office & The Williamson County Sheriff's Office.