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01-17-07, 07:35 AM #1
U.S. arrests 117 alleged members of Colombian drug ring
Tue Jan 16, 5:51 PM ET
A Colombian drug ring that smuggled $7.5 million of cocaine and heroin into the United States was shut down on Tuesday with the arrest of 117 of its suspected members, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said.
Among the cache seized by drug agents was 55 kilograms of heroin, 173 kilograms of cocaine, $260,000 in cash, 12 vehicles and nine weapons, said John Gilbride, special agent for the DEA's New York office.
A federal grand jury in Manhattan has charged 10 of the suspects, including alleged ringleader Ismael Jimenez-Sanchez, a Colombian citizen, with conspiracy to import heroin, U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia said.
If convicted, each faces life in prison and a $4 million fine, Garcia said.
The ring, based in Pereira, Colombia, trafficked the drugs through South America and the Caribbean to the eastern United States, where the drugs were distributed throughout New York, Baltimore and Detroit, Gilbride said.
The ring's couriers used various smuggling methods, including swallowing heroin pellets on commercial flights to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and stashing the drug in the soles of their shoes, he said.
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