Police: Central Texas busts have ties to Zetas drug cartel

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by JESSICA HOLLOWAY / KVUE News and FOTI KALLERGIS / KVUE News

kvue.com

Posted on May 30, 2013 at 5:22 PM

Updated Friday, May 31 at 2:04 PM

AUSTIN -- Drugs, guns and more than a million dollars in cash have been seized in two different Central Texas drug busts.

Local and federal law enforcement officers say the suspects have ties to the Zetas Mexican drug cartel. They say the busts are a major blow to the drug industry in Central Texas and the surrounding region. The incidents are unrelated, and police say each operation targeted high to mid-level dealers.

"We are absolutely committed to take the fight against illegal narcotics that have destroyed the lives of countless people, ended the lives of countless people," said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo.

The first bust took place on April 23. Investigators say they had information that the Mexican Mafia and Tango Blasts gangs were about to receive a large amount of narcotics. Authorities tracked down Sergio Guzman and recovered four firearms, 13 kilos of cocaine and more than $1 million in cash. Two other suspects were also arrested.

"Moving up the chain and hurting the folks that are actually the mid or higher level distributors," said Robert Pittman, U.S. Attorney Western District.

On May 1, investigators arrested four suspects in two locations, Austin and Elgin. Police seized about 20 pounds of meth, eight ounces of cocaine, several guns and an inert hand grenade.

Police say these busts are a clear indication of the cartel's presence in Central Texas, and the presence of drugs that affect the lives of people in the Austin community.

"I've seen too many lives turned upside down from narcotics. People always say should we just throw in the towel. I guarantee you if you legalize this stuff, people who've never tried this stuff. That's what they're gonna do. They're gonna try it because it's legal," said Acevedo.

All of the suspects are now in custody. They face a number of charges and anywhere from 10 years to life in federal prison.

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