FARMINGTON — Multiple law enforcement agencies Wednesday seized more than nine pounds of methamphetamine, which carries a street value of about $670,000, in what they are calling one of the biggest drug busts in recent history in San Juan County.
Six individuals, who authorities believe are connected with a Mexican cartel, were arrested in the raid, which simultaneously targeted five houses in the area, Region II Narcotics Task Force Lt. Neil Haws said. They are charged with trafficking methamphetamine, conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and the use of a firearm in furtherance of a felony crime.
The disruption of this organization will have a huge impact within the San Juan County area, Region II Narcotics Task Force Sgt. Brice Current said.
Initial reports estimated more more than 101 2 pounds of methamphetamine. The individuals, who were in the United States illegally, were taken to Albuquerque where they will face federal charges. Names were withheld pending the outcome of the federal investigation, Haws said.
A undisclosed, but "large amount" of money, 10 guns and one vehicle also were seized, Haws said. The money was rolled up and authorities believe it was intended to be shipped to another location.
The suspects constructed various hiding places in their homes, vehicles and on the property, Current said.
No one was injured in the raid that occurred at about 6 a.m., and suspects were taken into custody without incident, Haws said.
juvenile located at one of the houses was released to family members, Haws said.
Two houses were located in a trailer park near the Animas Valley Mall and three were located in Flora Vista, Crouch Mesa and Wild Horse Valley.
The raid was a result of an ongoing investigation.
We've been investigating this with the Drug Enforcement Agency since November 2009.
The methamphetamine appears to be of high purity and quality, Haws said. Methamphetamine loses its purity as it is transferred from the supplier to various dealers and is mixed with other materials.
The approximate street value of a gram of methamphetamine is $150.
Drug Enforcement Agency officers took the methamphetamine. Officials will conduct lab tests on the drugs to determine the purity and exact weight.
Region II Narcotics Task Force, Four Corners Gang Task Force, San Juan County Sheriff's Office and Farmington Police SWAT teams, Farmington and Bloomfield police canine units, U.S. Marshals and the Drug Enforcement Agency participated.
By Elizabeth Piazza The Daily Times