U.S. arrests Mexican official in massive drug smuggling scheme

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A Mexican attorney general from Nayarit has been apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border south of San Diego for allegedly conspiring to smuggle and sell heroin, cocaine, and other drugs, according to New York state court documents.

NBC 7 San Deigo reports that drug trafficking charges against Edgar Veytia, 46, were filed in the U.S. District Court of Eastern New York on March 2.

Veytia had been on law enforcement’s radar for some time before his arrest on Monday at the Cross Border Xpress airport terminal, a transit point that links San Diego to the Tijuana airport, says Ralph Desio with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Veytia is also known under several other aliases, including  “Diablo,” “Eepp,” and “Lic Veytia.”

The chief law enforcement officer in Nayarit is named in at least two federal court documents, in which he is being indicted on charges for international conspiracy to illegally import, manufacture and distribute heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana and cocaine, says the report. The documents accuse Veytia of drug trafficking crimes spanning from January 2013 to February 2017.

According to a report by Carrie Kahn at NPR:

“Veytia has been the top law enforcement official of the Pacific Mexican state of Nayarit since 2013. Allegations of the attorney general’s ties to the rising Jalisco New Generation cartel have long been raised in the Mexican press.”

“Nayarit’s governor told the national Milenio newpaper he was surprised at the arrest, given the low crime rate in the state.”

The indictment links Veytia to allegedly smuggling the minimum amounts of each drug as follows:

  • 1 kilogram of heroin
  • 5 kilograms of cocaine
  • 500 grams of methamphetamine
  • 1,000 kilograms of marijuana

Federal records indicate that Veytia is being detained in a San Diego prison, with a hearing scheduled Aprill 11 for removal to New York, reports NBC 7.

If Veytia is convicted, the indictment states the U.S. will seek at least $250 million from him in property linked to drug manufacturing and distribution.

H/T: NBC 7 San Diego, NPR

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