A judge sentenced a 65-year-old Missouri man to 15 years behind bars Thursday after being busted, along with his wife, for dealing heroin linked to cartels in Mexico.
As part of a plea agreement, Dennis McLallen of Overland Park admitted to being a major heroin distributor in the Kansas City region, dealing as much as 22 pounds of the substance over the course of running the operation, which began in 2011. McLallen previously plead guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to carry firearms during the commission of a drug crime, The Kansas City Star reported.
He also agreed as part of the plea deal to pay $850,000 — a rough estimate of McLallen’s total heroin profits.
Authorities indicted 18 people, including McLallen and his 62-year-old wife, Pamela Gaddy-McLallen, in December 2016 after the FBI and local law enforcement’s year-long investigation of the narcotics ring in the region. Two Mexican nationals illegally in the U.S. were also arrested and named in the indictment for their alleged role in transporting drugs and cash between the U.S. and Mexico.
The operation had ties to Mexican drug cartels, however, specifics about the connection were not given, authorities said.
Large quantities of narcotics continue to infiltrate the U.S. due to the relentless efforts of traffickers. However, the Department of Justice under Attorney General Jeff Sessions is gaining ground against drug movers taking advantage of America’s opioid scourge.
Federal officials scored a major victory this week against narcotics traffickers during an investigation of a distribution network, confiscating enough fentanyl to kill a quarter million Americans.
U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart, serving the Southern District of West Virginia, announced April 17 charges against nearly 100 individuals involved in a massive drug trafficking ring operating in West Virginia and Michigan. The investigation, dubbed Operation Saigon Sunset, targeted the multi-state Peterson Drug Trafficking Organization and involved more than 200 law enforcement officers from federal, state and local levels.
Federal authorities recently charged 75 people for money laundering and narcotics trafficking, including fentanyl, linked to the Sinaloa Cartel.
The U.S. Department of Justice unsealed 40 indictments March 8 in a San Diego federal court, detailing how a network of individuals conspired to launder tens of millions of dollars in drug cash between 2015 and 2018. Another 35 people were charged over the course of the DOJ’s multi-year investigation into the organization’s criminal activity.
Drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death for Americans under age 50, killing more than 64,000 people in 2016.
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