Several Arrested In San Diego During Raids On Mexican Drug Cartels

By Jose Luis Jiménez
February 24, 2011

Photo courtesy DEA
Weapons, drugs and cash seized by federal agents in San Diego.

SAN DIEGO -- Eight people accused of being members of Mexican drug cartels were arrested in San Diego County Thursday.

Agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement fanned out Thursday to raid several locations across the county.

The arrests locally were part of a larger operation conducted in at least eight cities across the country. In total, more than 100 people have been arrested, millions of dollars seized and hundreds of pounds of drugs confiscated.

Authorities characterized the raids as a direct response to the attack on ICE agent Jaime Zapata, who was shot to death while driving an SUV in Mexico on Feb. 15. His partner, Victor Avila, was also struck by gunfire, but survived.

DEA spokeswoman Amy Roderick said one goal is to gather evidence in that case.

“While we have no direct evidence to connect any of the people that we arrested to the heinous murder of ICE Special Agent Zapata," Roderick said. "We’re going to be questioning everyone we come in contact with during the length of this operation in an attempt to develop any intelligence that can assist with an arrest in this investigation.“

Law enforcement agents in several countries, including Mexico and as far south as Brazil, also conducted raids at the same time.