Authorities take down largest drug trafficking ring in history of Elkhart Co. law enforcement

 

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ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) – This week, authorities took down the largest drug trafficking ring uncovered by Elkhart County law enforcement.

The bust comes after a year-long investigation. Since last October, nearly 30 people involved in the Jaquez Drug Trafficking Organization were arrested.

Wednesday before dawn, officials busted ten of those people during a series of raids; this includes three men who police say were in charge of the operation.

During the takedown, authorities confiscated 13 pounds of methamphetamine.

“To characterize this, 13 pounds is 6,150 grams, which is a user amount or hit, so we’re talking about 6,150 user amounts, and a street value of over half a million dollars,” said Curtis Hill, Elkhart County Prosecutor.

During the bust, police also discovered marijuana, cocaine, prescription drugs, guns and $23,000 dollars.

“Over 100 law enforcement officers converged on ten separate locations,” said Hill.

Those locations included both residences and businesses connected to the drug ring.

Wednesday authorities arrested Luis Jaquez, who police say was the mastermind behind the operation. They believe his ‘right-hand men’ were Alejandro Rodriguez, Jorge Mereida.

“One of the largest drug trafficking enterprises uncovered by Elkhart County law enforcement; actually in the history of Elkhart County law enforcement,” said Hill.

In the last year, 25 other people were also arrested in connection to the drug organization.

“This is the main body of this organization, and it’s hoped and anticipated that the operation has dealt a lethal blow to this operation,” said Hill.

Hill says Jaquez was a significant player in the underground drug world.

“You have to do surveillance, you have to gather information from confidential sources, you have to track, monitor, review, document. There’s all sorts of activity that takes on, and above all, you have to be patient,” said Hill.

Patience that Hill says, led authorities to successfully complete Wednesday morning’s takedown.

“[Wednesday] morning, we knew where all these people were going to be, and now we know where they are…which is in jail,” said Hill.

Eight state-wide and national agencies were involved in the bust, including the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department, Indiana State Police and the DEA.

Hill says the ten people arrested Wednesday are charged with dealing methamphetamine in an amount over 10 grams; however, he says conspiracy charges may also come down on some of the players involved, as this was a rather large enterprise.

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