THOUSAND OAKS (CBSLA) – Authorities have nabbed 13 suspected members of the Sinaloa drug cartel who operated across the Southland, and in the process seized millions of dollars in drugs and weapons, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday.

The arrests, which included high-ranking Sinaloa members, were made as part of a year-long multi-agency investigation into a drug ring that operated in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Drugs and weapons seized in the investigation. Oct. 9, 2018. (CBS2)

Investigators also seized approximately $10 million worth of drugs and weapons, sheriff’s office officials said in a news conference in Thousand Oaks.

“This dope is supplying the thieves and tweakers that are taking packages off your porch, stealing your mail, stealing items from your car, breaking your rear slider and ransacking your homes,” Ventura County Undersheriff Gary Pentis told reporters.

The ring was run by 29-year-old Omar Rangel, a San Fernando Valley resident, Pentis alleged. The ring brought drugs in from Sinaloa, Mexico, then distributed it across L.A. and Ventura counties.

“I’m hoping there is a significant disruption by this because of the dollar loss,” Pentis said.

The group also laced some of its drugs with Fentanyl, officials said. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid painkiller that is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine.

“Why Fentanyl?” Pentis asked. “It’s cheap. It improves potency. It’s about money, it’s about dollars and nothing else.”

Charges have so far been brought against seven of the 13 suspects.

“The amount of dedication and hours it takes to pull a complex trafficking organization to the ground is worth mentioning and worth the accolades,” Pentis added.


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