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Credit: Elise Anderson
Credit: Elise Anderson
McKinney SWAT Raids Home Of Alleged Drug Czar
DEA Searches, Seizes West McKinney Home, Assets
Friday, August 17, 2007
Posted by Rodney Williams at 11:42 AM in Crime & Courts
The McKinney Police Department’s SWAT team executed a search warrant on behalf of the Drug Enforcement Administration on Thursday linked to the alleged leader of a drug cartel cell who was residing in McKinney.
SWAT team members searched the home of Sergio Maldonado in the Brookside subdivision off Winding Brook Dr., in West McKinney. Maldonado is on the list of defendants charged for their alleged role in the drug trafficking enterprise investigated as part of Operation Puma.
Maldonado is accused of being the leader of a Gulf Cartel cell based in North Texas. He was not home at the time of the search, but authorities reportedly seized his assets, including the house at 3504 Greystone Court, a Corvette in his garage and a motor home in his driveway.
Maldonado’s arrest marked the culmination of Operation Puma, a DEA-led investigation targeting the drug distribution cells and the money laundering network of a criminal enterprise operating along the Texas-Mexico border. Operation Puma has resulted in the arrest of 30 individuals and the seizure of several million dollars in drug-related assets over the past two-and-half years. The operation has netted arrests and seizures in Dallas, McAllen, Laredo, San Antonio and now McKinney.
In the Northern District of Texas alone, Operation Puma has resulted in the arrest of 20 individuals, the seizure of 277 kilograms of cocaine, 900 pounds of marijuana, and nearly $2,500,000 in U.S. currency. An indictment filed in the Northern District of Texas charges multiple defendants with conspiracy, drug trafficking and money laundering offenses and seeks to forfeit to the United States millions of dollars in cash obtained through drug trafficking and property bought or used by the organization to conduct their illegal drug trafficking activity.
"[The] arrests are the direct result of the unprecedented, cooperative efforts of federal and state law enforcement throughout the State of Texas," said Richard B. Roper, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. "Actions speak louder than words, and the overwhelming success of this OCDETF investigation, as shown by the number of drug traffickers arrested and seizures made, shows that dismantling major drug organizations continues to be a priority of the Department of Justice.”
Special agent James L. Capra, of the Dallas Field Division of the DEA, said the operation began in North Texas.
"As the investigation progressed, it became evident that the tentacles of this drug trafficking enterprise spanned both national and international territories," Capra said. "As criminal members were identified, the scope and magnitude of this organization’s destructive powers became apparent. We knew that the mission to dismantle this criminal enterprise would be immense and tedious but one that we could accomplish with fostered law enforcement partnerships both in our own backyard and abroad.
"[We] stand should-to-shoulder with our law enforcement partners to announce the successful completion of this investigation."
The investigation uncovered various smuggling and concealment methods used by various cells to transport drugs north and illegal proceeds south. The photos accompanying this story show drugs recovered from a bust in January in which drugs were recovered from a 40-foot trailer that had a steel box compartment welded underneath the planks of the flatbed.
The operation targeted the entire drug operation’s structure, from alleged members of the command and control structure to the money laundering components and the street-level dealers.
Key local and state participants included the Dallas Police Department, the McKinney Police Department, the Garland Police Department, the Plano Police Department, the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office, the McAllen Police Department, the Mission Police Department, the San Juan Police Department, the Weslaco Police Department, the Pharr Police Department, the San Antonio Police Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the U. S. Marshal’s Service, and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.