5 Arrested in Inland Empire; Drug Ring Dead, DEA Says
Law enforcement agents say they have broken up a cross-border methamphetamine ring that sold the illicit drug across Southern California, arresting five men late Tuesday and early Wednesday after a nine-month investigation.
The suspects, Mexican nationals, were apprehended in Ontario and San Bernardino, said Stephen Azzam, assistant special agent in charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Riverside office.
Officials believe the “full-service” organization would manufacture the drug in Mexico and ship it across the border in trucks, distributing 40 to 60 pounds per month across the region, Azzam said.
“This is a pretty significant investigation,” Azzam said, adding that the agency collaborated with state and local law enforcement agencies.
Authorities said the investigation, dubbed Operation Ice Storm, had netted 17 other arrests, 84 pounds of methamphetamine, 17 weapons, six luxury cars and $250,000 in cash and assets. The street value of the seized drugs is estimated at $4.8 million, Azzam said.
During the recent arrests, two of the suspects tried to run but were caught, Azzam said. Authorities said they had not released the names of those arrested because the investigation was ongoing; an unspecified number of suspects remain at large.