Authorities indict 19 individuals for narcotics distribution network spanning the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

On January 30, 2024, the Justice Department announced charges against 19 individuals from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico for their involvement in a large-scale drug trafficking operation. The international crime syndicate is accused of purchasing meth, cocaine, and fentanyl from Mexico and distributing them in U.S. cities, with the help of Canadian “handlers” and “dispatchers.” Twelve of the defendants have been arrested, while seven remain at large. One of the defendants, Robert Scoppa, has ties to Italian organized crime in Montreal, and another, Jesus Ruiz Sandoval Jr., is a known drug trafficker from Mexico who is still on the run. The investigation, known as “Operation Dead Hand,” uncovered a trafficking scheme involving over 1,800 pounds of meth, 2,000 pounds of cocaine, and 44 pounds of fentanyl, with a potential street value of $16 to 28 million. Law enforcement agencies in California, Florida, Texas, and Canada executed warrants related to the case on Tuesday morning. According to Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, these cases demonstrate the successful collaboration between agents and prosecutors in dismantling organized criminal networks that profit from deadly drugs. Unsealed court documents revealed a network of truckers who worked together to transport the drugs across the U.S. and into Canada. At a press conference, Donald Alway, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, described the group as an “organized conspiracy” that operated with impunity throughout North America. CBS News reporter and producer Robert Legare, who covers the Justice Department, federal courts, and investigations, provided this update on the case.  

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