Forty-eight members of a drug ring headed by a Mexican family have been arrested for allegedly providing heroin to gangs for distribution throughout Southern California.
Authorities fanned out Tuesday in raids at dozens of locations.
Los Angeles sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore says the suspects are accused of distributing black tar heroin trafficked from Mexico to Los Angeles, San Diego and Ventura counties as part of an operation that netted $2 million per month.
Officials say they are affiliated with the Mendoza family based in Oaxaca, Mexico, and have been smuggling heroin for the last 10 to 15 years.
Mexico's Most Wanted List Pared Down
Meanwhile, Mexican soldiers have captured one of Mexico's most-wanted drug smugglers, whose nickname "la burra" -- female donkey -- belies his power as the alleged trafficker controlling drugs flowing through the northern city of Monterrey.
Authorities announced the arrest of Hector Huerta Rios on Wednesday, just hours before U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived for a two-day visit to discuss security issues and U.S. support for Mexico's battle against the drug cartels. Clinton was scheduled to travel to Monterrey on Thursday.
Huerta Rios was detained Tuesday in a suburb of Monterrey, said Army Gen. Luis Arturo Oliver. He was one of 37 top drug suspects on a most-wanted list published Monday.
Officials said Huerta Rios acted as a lieutenant for the Beltran Leyva cartel in Monterrey, an industrial hub and Mexico's third-largest city. They say he directed the cartel's operations there, and even met with the rival Gulf cartel to divide up the territory.