Members of the Los Zetas Cartel managed to establish a series of large scale marijuana plantations in east Texas. Authorities have been able to locate 15 marijuana plantations and seize 77,000 plants with an estimated worth of more than $101 million.
The marijuana growing operation has been tied to the Los Zetas drug cartel, information released by the Smith County Sheriff’s Office revealed. The efforts to take down the growing operation began on July 28, 2015 under Operation Joint Venture when authorities found three growing operations and seized 22,000 plants. The operation was carried out by Smith County Sheriff’s Office, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
As part of the investigation, authorities were able to identify Eduardo Ramirez Pineda as the leader of the Los Zetas marijuana growing operation and Benito Ramirez as his right hand man. Authorities have obtained an arrest warrant for him and 11 other members of the Los Zetas group for their alleged role in the operation; most of the members have been identified as Mexican nationals.
Authorities were able to arrest three of the wanted men this week and continue to search for the others. During the arrest, agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained several other individuals on apparent immigration violations. full story