Drug dealers linked to Mexican Cartels operating out of New Orleans, DEA finds

Published: May. 11, 2023 at 5:17 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - In a year-long operation, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) successfully tracked down drug dealers linked to Mexican Cartels, operating both nationwide and specifically in New Orleans.

“Right now, the DEA’s top priority is to defeat the Sinaloa and Jalisco Cartels,” says Special Agent In Charge Brad Byerley.

Byerley says the Sinaloa and Jalisco Cartels are responsible for a significant portion of the Fentanyl and Methamphetamine supply in the United States.

“These are the people that are poisoning and destroying our communities,” says Byerley.

‘Operation Last Mile’ resulted in the arrest of over 3,000 individuals involved in the drug trade. The DEA’s efforts led to the seizure of 44 million Fentanyl pills and more than 6,500 pounds of Fentanyl powder.

Pills found during a traffic stop tested positive for fentanyl and are apparently made to look...
Pills found during a traffic stop tested positive for fentanyl and are apparently made to look like candy.(Fairhope Police Department)

“That’s what we can equate to 193 million lethal doses of fentanyl. That’s enough to kill half of the United States population,” says Byerley.

The New Orleans Field Division of the DEA, which encompasses four states, conducted 22 investigations as part of the operation. During their work, agents made a concerning discovery—drug dealers have increasingly turned to social media platforms to communicate and distribute their illicit products. Their target demographic often includes unaware teenagers who unwittingly consume dangerous substances.

“They’re using Facebook, Snapchat, and also encrypted media like Whatsapp,” says Byerley. “They’re pushing out fake pills laced with fentanyl. These pills resemble Xanax and Adderall.”


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Aside from the substantial drug haul, law enforcement also confiscated over 600 firearms, highlighting the undeniable connection between the drug trade and the surge of violence witnessed on the streets.

While ‘Operation Last Mile’ is over, the DEA says its mission continues.

“We know who the enemy is that is destroying our community, and we now know exactly how to go after them,” says Byerley.

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