Justice's "Project Delirium" targets major Mexican drug cartel

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 21, 2011 5:04 PM
Justice's "Project Delirium" targets major Mexican drug cartel

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than 200 people have been arrested since June 1 as a part of a multi-agency law enforcement investigation known as "Project Delirium," the Department of Justice said on Thursday.

The operation, which targeted the La Familia Michoacana drug cartel, resulted in 221 arrests in the period, and the seizure of $770,499 in cash, 635 pounds of methamphetamine, 118 kilograms (260 pounds) of cocaine and 24 pounds of heroin.

"The arrests and seizures we are announcing today have stripped La Familia of its manpower, its deadly product and its profit, and helped make communities large and small safer," Deputy Attorney General James Cole said in a statement.

"The department is determined to continue our aggressive efforts, along with our Mexican law enforcement partners, to diminish and ultimately eliminate the threat posed by these dangerous groups," he said.

Project Delirium is a 20-month operation the DOJ says has nabbed 1,985 individuals on narcotics-related charges, seized approximately $62 million in cash, 2,773 pounds of methamphetamine, 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) of cocaine, 1,005 pounds of heroin, 14,818 pounds of marijuana and $3.8 million in other assets in 13 states throughout the country.

Mexican law enforcement arrested La Familia leader Jose de Jesus Mendez-Vargas, also known as "El Chango" or "The Monkey," on Mexican charges on June 21, 2011.

(Reporting by Wendell Marsh; Editing by Jerry Norton)