U.S. deports key Mexican cartel member

By Dialogo
July 05, 2012

LOS ANGELES — U.S. authorities have arrested a key fugitive member of Mexico’s La Familia Michoacana drug cartel and deported her back to her homeland, prosecutors said on July 3
Anel Violeta Noriega Ríos, for whom Mexico offered a $5 million peso (US$375,000) reward, was arrested in Los Angeles on June 27 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers.
Noriega Ríos is charged in a 64-page criminal warrant with ongoing involvement in organized crime and drug trafficking, according to ICE. The charge sheet was issued in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas in January 2010.
Mexico alleges that she is “one of La Familia’s main U.S.-based operatives,” helping oversee the cartel’s methamphetamine distribution activities in California and Washington states.
“Last week’s removal should be a reminder to fugitives in Mexico and around the world that we won’t allow our borders to be barriers to bringing dangerous criminals to justice,” said David Marin, head of the ERO’s Los Angeles office.
“ICE will continue to work closely with its law enforcement counterparts in Mexico to assure the safety of law-abiding citizens in both nations.”
Last year, U.S. authorities arrested nearly 2,000 people on narcotics charges in a 20-month sting targeting La Familia Michoacana that also seized US$62 million and more than 12 tons of drugs.
The arrests were carried out in 12 states and Washington, D.C. in an operation dubbed “Project Delirium,” two months after Mexican law enforcement officials arrested La Familia leader José de Jesús Méndez Vargas.
[AFP, 04/07/2012; Mexico.cnn.com (Mexico), 04/07/2012]