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APD Announces Arrests in Gang Drug Bust

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Mose Buchele, KUT News
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APD displayed drugs and guns seized in the arrests to the media at APD HQ.

Austin police have arrested 29 people in connection with a gang drug bust operation. Police are still looking for ten others.  All arrest warrants are for delivery of a controlled substance (in this case cocaine) which is a first degree felony.           

“A lot of them have very extensive arrest histories in APD. Some of them have been arrested multiple times, we had one subject who's been arrested for murder, aggravated assault,” said Lieutenant Norris McKenzie, who oversees APD’s Gang Suppression Unit.

Several other state and federal offices are involved, including the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas.  Eleven of the defendants may face federal charges.  Lieutenant McKenzie says while these arrests were people in or affiliated with street gangs, they’re connected to the growing influence of Mexican drug cartels.

“Some of them do have ties to transnational drug trafficking organizations.  What the transnational drug organization will do is use local street gangs to distribute their narcotics."

APD started what they call 'Operation Gang Crusher' last summer to combat an increase in gang related crime in Austin.

UPDATE: The original version of this post said that eleven suspects were at large. Minutes after the APD told media of the arrests, APD announced that one of the eleven remaining suspects had also been arrested. Police are now seeking ten suspects. The blog post has been revised to reflect that number.