Sinola Cartel Takes Major Hit in Arizona


News came this week of the arrest of 203 suspects in a major narcotics sweep in Tempe, Arizona. Initial reports are that this was the culmination of a 15 year investigation into the activities of the Sinola cartel – one of Mexico’s worst drug dealing organizations.

The scale of the sweep and the numbers involved are staggering. Along with the arrests, nearly 8 million in cash, 44 firearms, and more than a half-ton of drugs were seized. The laundry list of narcotics included marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin.

Operation Crank Call was the catchy title law enforcement gave the investigation. According to a statement from the DEA, the investigation kicked into high gear after a drug mule was stopped and questioned by a patrol officer. The drugs found at the time led to opening up the entire network to police inquiry.

A statement released last week by the State Attorney General’s office said, in part, “We will pursue this case with determination and dedication to convicting the perpetrators and keeping them off our streets and in prison, where they belong. In fact, one suspect has already pleaded guilty and has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Aggressive prosecution is crucial because the streets of our cities are increasingly becoming an even larger marketplace for meth, marijuana, cocaine and heroin.

Definitely a win for police and a loss for the Sinola cartel. For the citizen on the street, it gives us a peek into the vast scale of drug sales in this country. This operation was focused on Tempe and the surrounding areas and included what has been referred to as a “distribution network.” But still, it’s a only a part of one state in a country that seems to have an endless appetite for drugs. The eight million in cash seized was cash on hand, a snapshot of what had to be a gushing pipeline of money flowing from the US to sponsors in Mexico. The scale is just stunning.


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