SAN ANTONIO—The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday announced it had seized the assets of an aerial truck driver accused of running a criminal enterprise operating in Texas with nearly $40 million in civil forfeiture proceeds.
In a separate action, the Department of Homeland Security took possession of $4.3 million in cash seized from a Texas drug kingpin’s home in February.
U.N. officials said the seizure of the cash was the first of its kind in a U.K. operation to target drug trafficking in the country.
Attorney John McKay said the criminal enterprise involved thousands of illegal drugs, more than a dozen trucks carrying tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl, and heroin, and at least a dozen people arrested.
McKay said in a statement that the defendants, all of whom face charges of conspiring to distribute, transport, or distribute cocaine, fentanyl and other drugs, were involved in more than 40 trafficking and drug-related enterprises in Texas, Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Florida.
The United States is the largest source of narcotics seized in the United States by the DEA and other law enforcement agencies, McKay said.
The seizures, which came at a time of heightened scrutiny of law enforcement, are part of a national crackdown on organized crime.
The federal forfeiture law requires the government to return property seized by criminal justice agencies in criminal investigations, including property seized for the purposes of drug trafficking.
“We are targeting the criminal cartels who control drug trafficking and violent crime across the nation, and we are taking the money they steal to fund our fight against these organizations,” McKay said at a news conference.
Upholding the law, McKay warned that criminal cartels will continue to use these proceeds to finance their crimes.
“If we are not vigilant, these criminals will continue their crimes, and their money will keep flowing,” he said.
McKay also said the government was seizing “the proceeds of crime, the profits from drugs, and the profits of criminal enterprise.”
He said the proceeds would go toward the Justice Department’s Drug Enforcement Administration’s “Operation Zero Tolerance.”
The agency, which targets criminal organizations such as the Gulf Cartel, was created to combat narcotics trafficking and organized crime and has a budget of more than $20 billion.
The operation has been described as one of the largest forfeiture efforts in U.C.L.A.’s history.
It involves seizing assets from U.H.L., the state’s largest drug trafficking organization, which was busted in 2011.
The U.P.A. was charged in the case, and was accused of moving large amounts of cash across state lines to help hide money laundering operations.
The Justice Department said it was seizing more than 1,000 kilograms of heroin and nearly $2 million in cocaine.
The agency also seized $6.5 million in drug paraphernalia.
“These are the proceeds of a violent crime,” McKay told reporters in San Antonio.
“This is about money that is going to the U.W.O.”
L, the United Way of Greater San Antonio.””
This is about money that is going to the U.W.O.
L, the United Way of Greater San Antonio.”