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FBI Busts Mexican Cartel-Linked Drug Trafficking Ring

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The FBI says they've arrested dozens of people and seized hundreds of pounds of drugs – including nearly a ton of cocaine – in a bust of a Sinaloa Cartel-affiliated ring operating in Southern California.

Federal officials announced indictments stemming from "Operation Narconetas" Wednesday, charging dozens of people for their roles in a Sinaloa-linked drug trafficking organization.

"These indictments charge the trafficking cells that enabled the cartels to traffic the illicit drugs across the border and we do believe we've impacted their operations by taking out the transportation cells," Assistant FBI Director Paul Delacourt said.

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Federal agents have seized nearly 1 ton of cocaine, 850 pounds of methamphetamines, 93 pounds of heroin, 50 pounds of marijuana and $1.42 million in cash from warehouses and stash houses in several Inland Empire cities.

"Very big deal," said one investigator who was not identified to protect his identity. "We have hurt the Sinaloa cartel."

The 3-year investigation revealed this drug trafficking ring was bringing in as much as $3.5 million a month in Southern California alone.

According to authorities, the drugs were sent to the Inland Empire cities, including Ontario, Norco and Hemet, via trucks, cars and private planes. From there, the narcotics were distributed to Nevada and Arizona, and as afar as Kansas and Minnesota.

A total of 22 people have been arrested, but 35 people believed to be in Mexico remain at large.

FBI officials say the Mexican government was crucial in the investigation. More raids are imminent, sources told CBS2.

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