This bust marks the second major drug takedown in Austin this year.
According to the indictments, the defendants are facing a mix of charges, including conspiracy to possess and intent to distribute drugs, including methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and marijuana.
Agents released photos of the seizures. One bust uncovered 75 kilograms of meth.
In one of the operations, investigators say the drugs were coming in to an Austin business called JT Body and Paint. That’s where it was prepared and then shipped out around Austin and in other cities, including Dallas and Oklahoma City.
In the other operation, agents tracked the drugs in from the Rio Grande Valley. During one of the smuggling runs, officers found 20 kilograms of cocaine hidden inside an 18-wheeler truck.
This body shop was serving as a hub. Wherever you live may be the retail location.
The link to the Rio Grande Valley, plus the nature of the cargo, scream that this was a Mexican cartel operation operating hundreds of miles inside Texas. No word so far on how long it has been going on or how many of the fine folks who were busted today were just dreamers working in the shadows of our downright mean immigration system. Let’s just be thankful that the border is more secure than ever before.
In February, authorities busted 19 in another cartel operation. Fifteen of them turned out to be dreamers running drugs in the shadows awaiting their shot at amnesty. Like today’s bust, the drugs were being run through a shell business, both of which were body shops.
My border sources tell me that shell businesses and real estate are common ways for the cartels to launder money on the north side of the border. Down in the Valley, dance clubs seem to be the preferred way that the cartels help their dreaming dollars obtain legal status.