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Drug cartel investigation continues

AMARILLO - The investigation into a Mexican drug cartel operation with ties to Amarillo is far from over. Right now local and federal authorities are sifting through confiscated property that will lead to more charges and possibly more arrests.

It started out two years ago as a local investigation into a gambling operation in Amarillo. But officers soon realized There was something bigger going on. "It was all sort of intertwined," Potter County Attorney Scott Brumley said. "It wasn't gambling over here, drugs over at some other location. There was a lot of interaction." That's when the DEA and FBI got involved. Federal indictments started coming down back in December and finally 13 were arrested Tuesday, on various drug charges for distributing methamphetamine and cocaine.

It involved people who weren't necessarily limited in the scope of what they were doing to just Amarillo. So some of these people were on the radar of other offices and I think over time as the investigation went on and agencies communicated and put the pieces together... It became clear what the bigger picture was. The bigger picture was the Gulf Cartel, a Mexican drug trafficking organization.

"Amarillo is a long ways from the Mexican border, but it's easy to get to with the interstate systems," Drug Enforcement Administration official Dan R. Salter said. Federal and local authorities are calling Tuesday's sting a success but with the massive amount of evidence left to sort through more charges will be filed and possibly more people put behind bars. "I think it's reasonable to conclude that more arrests are possible," Brumley said.

Right now all 13 suspects remain in the Randall county jail. It's unclear which of those accused criminals will be charged in connection with gambling or if the gambling charges will come down from the state or federal level.

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