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For Immediate Release

Contact:
December 17, 2010 DUSM Frank Conroy, District of South Carolina
(843) 297-7136
East Coast Mexican Drug Trafficking Organization Dismantled by DEA and U.S. Marshals

Charleston, SC – A Mexican drug trafficking organization with ties all over the southeastern United States has been brought to its knees by the diligent investigative efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the U.S. Marshals. Pedro Ochoa, 25, and Jose Pineda, 29, were arrested Wednesday afternoon in an Atlanta suburb while Arturo Salcedo, 30, was arrested the same day in a West Ashley neighborhood. It is alleged that these individuals are part of a drug trafficking organization that transported drugs from Mexico into South Carolina, Texas, and Georgia.

The DEA alerted members of Operation Intercept, the U.S. Marshals fugitive task force in South Carolina, that Ochoa and Pineda were believed to be hiding in the Atlanta area. In turn, U.S. Marshals working with the South East Regional Fugitive Task Force in Atlanta were able to set up surveillance within the 2900 block of Old Norcross Rd., in Duluth immediately following receipt of this information. Georgia Marshals were able to determine an apartment complex where Ochoa and Pineda could be located, swiftly apprehending the fugitives without incident.

In Charleston, Salcedo was found and arrested at a Millcreek residence by U.S. Marshals early Wednesday morning. Kelvin Washington, U.S. Marshal for South Carolina, said “The ability of all facets of law enforcement working together across multiple jurisdictions should be a statement to all those looking to violate the law in South Carolina and in other states: you will be pursued, you will be caught, and you will be brought to justice.” All fugitives were brought to U.S. District Court in their respective areas and held without bond.

Established in 1789, the United States Marshals Service is the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agency. In fiscal year 2009, the Marshals arrested more than 36,400 federal fugitives, clearing 39,400 felony warrants. Marshal’s Service led task forces like South Carolina’s Operation Intercept arrested 90,800 state and local fugitives, clearing 117,000 felony warrants. Locally, Operation Intercept arrested over 2,500 South Carolina fugitives during the same period.

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America’s Oldest Federal Law Enforcement Agency

For more information about the U.S. Marshals Service, visit http://www.usmarshals.gov