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U.S. Border Agent Arrested in Connection with Massive Fentanyl and Meth Trafficking Bust in California

Border Agent Among 47 Charged in Sinaloa Cartel-Linked Drug Bust
Source: Homeland Security Investigations

A drug network reportedly linked to the Sinaloa Cartel was busted, with 47 individuals charged, officials said.

Jun. 12 2024, Published 3:52 p.m. ET

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The U.S. Department of Justice announced charges against 47 people, including a border agent, in connection with the bust of a fentanyl and methamphetamine trafficking network in Southern California that's linked to the Sinaloa cartel.

The DOJ said there were 14 separate indictments against 47 individuals following a "coordinated takedown" involving more than 400 local, state and federal law enforcement officers, resulting in 36 arrests. Officials noted agents were still searching for some suspects charged in the case.

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According to the DOJ, during the course of the long-term investigation, which involved the execution of 25 search warrants along with previous searches, officers seized a total of four kilograms (8.8 pounds) of fentanyl; more than 324 kilograms (over 714 pounds) of methamphetamine; "significant quantities" of cocaine and heroin; and 52 firearms, including handguns and rifles.

The defendants are facing charges that include drug trafficking, money laundering, and gun-related offenses.

Among those arrested was Alexander Grindley, who is accused of methamphetamine trafficking while employed as a U.S. Border Patrol agent, officials said.

“With this takedown, the Justice Department has dealt yet another blow to the Sinaloa Cartel and its associates,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a statement. “I am grateful to the more than 400 law enforcement officers whose work in this operation resulted in dozens of arrests, charges against 47 defendants, and the seizure of firearms, meth, cocaine, heroin, and two million potentially lethal doses of fentanyl. We will continue to be relentless in our fight to protect American communities from the cartels.”

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According to the indictments, the defendants were part of separate but linked trafficking organizations that were part of an "extensive network" supplying drugs to the region.

The flood of drugs also led to a "precipitous" drop in prices for fentanyl pills during the course of the investigation.

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In June 2021, targets of the investigation were obtaining fentanyl in Imperial Valley at a price of $1.65 to $1.75 per pill. In December 2021, suspects were discussing prices of $1.25 per pill. By May of this year, fentanyl pills were being sold for just 45 cents each.

“This investigation tore apart a drug trafficking network responsible for supplying dealers in communities across the region,” said U.S. Attorney Tara McGrath for the Southern District of California. “But there is still much work to be done. If you’re a parent and today’s price of fentanyl terrifies you, talk to your kids about the dangers of drug use. If you’re an addict and your dealer was arrested today, seek treatment. And if you’re a dealer but your supplier was arrested today, look out — we are coming for you next.”

TMX contributed to this report.

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