No, "Project Delirium" isn't the latest Anthrax album; It's a nationwide crackdown targeting alleged members of the La Familia Michoacana Drug Cartel.
It's been a 20-month operation, and in the latest wave of arrests beginning this month, 221 suspects have been taken in, including six in the Southern District of Texas.
The Texas defendants are charged with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine and laundering the drug proceeds, U.S. Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
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Ricardo Ramirez-Villa, 40, a Mexican national, is the alleged head of an organization and enterprise operating in the Laredo area since 2005 involved in distributing methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine and laundering allegedly millions in illicit proceeds. He was arrested by investigating agents on Monday, July 11, 2011, and remains in federal custody without bond pending trial of the case. Two others arrested the same day, Arturo Ibarra Rios, 28, and Maria del Rosario Aguirre, 52, both of Laredo, remain in custody pending a decision of the court on the government's motion to detain them without bond pending trial. Manuel Humberto Montemayor, 31, of Laredo, was arrested on Saturday, July 16, 2011, and remains in custody pending a detention hearing scheduled for today.
Juan Ramon Rodriguez, 28, also of Laredo, was arrested on Monday, July 18, 2011. He, too, remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing on Friday of this week. Yesterday, Victor Manuel Herrera, 30, was arrested in Austin, Texas, where he made his initial appearance and will remain in custody pending a detention hearing. Warrants remain outstanding for others allegedly involved with this organization but as yet not in custody.
Project Delirium has resulted in almost 2,000 arrests in the last 20 months, the Department of Justice said.
"Through coordinated and strategic efforts like Project Delirium, we are disrupting the operations of Mexican drug cartels in the United States and Mexico," said Deputy Attorney General James Cole. "Today, we see drug traffickers operating in urban and rural communities alike. 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. 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."