An international anti-drug crackdown dubbed "Southern Star" has resulted in 3,743 arrests and the seizure of millions of dollars in cash and drugs, authorities said.
Fugitives on state, federal and international charges from New Zealand to Bermuda were rounded up during the 10-week effort, along with $12.8 million in cash, property, drugs, guns and other contraband.The operation marked a new level of coordination between the U.S. Marshal's Service and 28 state and local agencies in the war on drugs, said U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh who reported the sweep Wednesday.
"We're making considerable progress in upping the ante for those who are intent upon feeding the appetite that unfortunately still exists in the United States for illegal drugs," he said.
But he conceded that the federal government was not in a position to say if the operation had actually cut into drug sales in the United States.
Authorities said those arrested were tracked through 32 states and several foreign countries.
Foreign fugitives have too long been able to "flee from one country to another, financed by lucrative international criminal activities," said K. Michael Moore, director of the U.S. Marshal's Service.
"They assume that the various law enforcement officers don't have the time or resources to track them across international jurisdictions. Operation Southern Star proves them wrong," Moore said.
Eleven of those arrested were wanted for murder, and one of the fugitives, Charles Bryant, was wanted in New Zealand on charges of cocaine smuggling and conspiracy to supply LSD.