As part of the operation, federal, state, and local law enforcement officers from 16 agencies served arrest warrants and search warrants at 18 locations in central Indiana and Arizona on Thursday, officials said in a news release. Sixteen individuals were arrested and booked into federal custody. Three are fugitives — Jaraughn Bertram, 20, Jordan Sumner, 22, and Joaquin Carranza, 18.
“The reason that we do this is because the drug traffickers who are out there, the people who are running around there, running around with firearms, you know, shooting people, killing people, endangering our community,” said U.S. Attorney Zachary Myers in a news conference on Friday. “They need to hear that this is what’s coming, that federal law enforcement, state law enforcement, local law enforcement, we work together to identify the worst offenders. We will spend the time that it takes to identify everyone involved, to find where you’re hiding your drugs, where you’re hiding your guns. We will get warrants. We will seize them. We will prosecute you, and we will seek to hold you accountable in court.”
According to court documents and information presented in open court, two men are accused of leading the drug trafficking organizations in central Indiana that moved significant quantities of fentanyl and methamphetamine from Arizona to Indianapolis.
The organizations allegedly possessed and used weapons converted into fully automatic firearms.
They used machine gun conversion devices — “Glock switches” or “auto-sears” — that convert ordinary semiautomatic firearms into fully automatic machine guns, authorities said.
During the year-long investigation, authorities seized over 320,000 fentanyl pills, over 117 pounds of methamphetamine, over 453 pounds of marijuana, 113 firearms, 60 machine gun conversion devices and over $521,000 in cash. If convicted, each defendant faces up to life in federal prison, officials said.
Myers said the deadly fentanyl pills were made to look like legitimate pharmaceuticals but were “filled with poison.”
The wrong one, he said, “could end your life.”
Authorities seized 113 firearms and 60 “Glock conversion devices.” Agents seized over half a million dollars in cash. Officials said the organization was behind many shootings in and around the Indianapolis area.
The crackdown comes as fentanyl continues to plague the U.S. It’s involved in more deaths of Americans under 50 than any cause of death — including heart disease, cancer, homicide, suicide and accidents, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“Fentanyl is the single deadliest drug threat our nation has ever encountered,” said Administrator Anne Milgram. “Fentanyl is everywhere. From large metropolitan areas to rural America, no community is safe from this poison.”
The ATF announced Friday it was offering three rewards of $5,000 each for information leading to Carranza, Bertram, and Sumner. Carranza was last in the Phoenix area, while Bertram and Sumner’s whereabouts are unknown.
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