Federal authorities say a Wayne County based Mexican drug cartel has been broken up and most of the 26 people nabbed have been given hefty prison sentences.
U.S. Attorney George Holding says the Julian Avilez drug organization operated out of a Newton Grove convenience store. The feds say Avilez used the store to import between 20 and 30 kilos of cocaine per month from Mexico and distribute it to at least five states.
All but two defendants in Operation Northern Star have been sentenced and received significant federal sentences, ranging from 60 months to 292 months imprisonment. Avilez was sentenced to 188 months imprisonment for his criminal activity.
During the investigation, lawmen have seized 14 firearms, 11 kilograms of cocaine, 2 kilograms of crack cocaine, and over $1 million in U.S. currency. The feds say in addition, over $600,000 worth of real and personal property was seized and/or forfeited by defendants.