SAN ANTONIO -- The DEA says they have shut down a multi-million dollar San Antonio-based drug operation after a two-year investigation that arose from a tip from a concerned citizen. Agents say the organization moved millions of dollars worth of marijuana each month to six different states.
But no more.
The DEA says this was a sophisticated operation with 12 area residents moving high-grade marijuana to six different states.
The San Antonio Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force initiated "Operation Redwood" in San Antonio, other Texas cities and several other states on Tuesday, August 21.
The investigation has resulted in 12 arrests, 19 search warrants, the seizure of approximately 1 kilogram of cocaine, 760 lbs. of Mexican marijuana, 800 hydro marijuana plants and $1.3 million in cash jewelry and other assets.
Investigators said the suspects avoided the border and instead brought in hydro marijuana plants from California. They said once the high-grade pot was harvested in San Antonio it was then moved to other areas of the United States, including Florida, California, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Detroit.
"This organization went to tremendous lengths to transport this marijuana from California, we believe, and bring it here to the San Antonio area in and around the San Antonio area. We don't know how much was distributed here, but we do know that on a conservative estimate they were moving about 1.6 thousand pounds of this per month," said the DEA's Mauricio Fernandez.
It is estimated that one pound of the high-grade marijuana is worth about $5,000. Agents said they estimate this group brought in about $3 million a month.
"Marijuana is in fact a gateway drug not only to hardened drugs: cocaine and heroin, but also prescription pills," Fernandez said. "And those are the kinds of things that infect our communities."
Also seized were 2,200 dosage units of anabolic steroids.
Authorities said the group was very organized, operating very much like a professional corporation - one that is now out of business as the DEA continues to look for two additional defendants.