Project Python puts squeeze on cartel; two arrests in Marble Falls

A U.S. Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration investigation that spanned the country included two arrests in Marble Falls.

Project Python, the name of the DEA’s interagency operation, targeted the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and resulted in more than 600 arrests, 350 indictments, and the seizure of a significant amount of drugs and money. The DEA and other agencies, including locally, made the arrests over the course of several days.

Federal authorities said the cartel is responsible for a large amount of drugs entering the United States.

In the Austin area, a coalition of federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities arrested more than 20 people, including 47-year-old Linde DiGregorio and 38-year-old Shadrick Croxton, both of Marble Falls. Brandon Grigsby, 24, of Lago Vista also was arrested.

The federal government charged the three and 15 other Austin-area individuals with conspiring to distribute cocaine, heroin, meth, and other narcotics. The arrests took place March 10-11.

The Central Texas investigation related to Project Python has netted, to date, 33 kilograms of meth, 1 kilogram of heroin, 250 grams of cocaine, and $13,000 in assets.

Authorities also arrested six people in the San Antonio area on similar federal charges in connection with Project Python.

“The arrests made in Austin and San Antonio were part of a coordinated nationwide enforcement operation undertaken by the Department of Justice and DEA targeting elements of Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) in the United States,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Steven S. Whipple, referring to the cartel’s name in Spanish. “The CJNG is a violent drug trafficking organization responsible for the importation of ton quantities of cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine across the United States.”

The DEA and partnering agencies have been investigating the cartel for at least six months during Project Python. Officials said the cartel is one of the fastest-growing “transnational criminal organizations in Mexico, and among the most prolific methamphetamine producers in the world,” according to an administration media release.

Law enforcement aims to dismantle Jalisco New Generation Cartel by targeting its operations at every level.

On March 11, DEA officials announced a federal indictment of Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, also known as “El Mencho.” Federal authorities say he is the “undisputed leader” of the cartel. In January, the United States successfully extradited from Mexico his son, Ruben Oseguera Gonzalez, second in command of the cartel.

In an effort to arrest Cervantes, the U.S. Department of Treasury labeled him a “specially designated narcotics trafficker,” and the U.S. Department of State issued a $10 million reward for information leading to his capture. It’s the largest-ever narcotics reward, according to the DEA media release.

daniel@thepicayune.com

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