Memphis/Mexico Heroin Ring Busted

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Ten people were arrested in Memphis this morning for their role in a Mexican-based heroin trafficking ring with an operation here. Five defendants are still on the loose, some of whom are believed to be in Mexico.

The arrests came as a result of an investigation dubbed "Operation Black Gold Rush" that began in Nashville last November. The ring operated out of 15 states in the Southeast. At least 60 pounds of heroin have been seized in the investigation.

Several major players were operating out of Memphis, including local ringleaders Alberto Sanchez (a.k.a. Uncle Beto) and Baston (a.k.a. Tono), whose full name is not yet known. Others charged in Memphis were indicted for helping to distribute drugs. Some of the co-conspirators named in the indictment were attempting to recruit prospective distributors at local methodone clinics. Other locals were charged with buying drugs.

Andrew Dimond from the DEA’s Memphis office said the ringleaders ran the operation with a “professional, business-like attitude.” He said dealers were required to call and ask permission for lunch and dinner breaks. The operation even had daily business hours — from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. — Bianca Phillips

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