Massive shipments of Mexican methamphetamine mixed in with concrete tiles and house paints were intercepted in late March by federal drug agents in Miami, leading to the arrests of four alleged traffickers who faced narcotics importation charges Wednesday in federal court.
The Mexican-produced crystal stimulant was shipped by truck in two loads — the first holding 200 kilos, the second 350 kilos —through Texas to South Florida in multimillion-dollar meth deals investigated by Drug Enforcement Administration undercover informants and agents, according to a criminal complaint.
Over the past three months, DEA undercover meetings took place with members of the meth syndicate in Colombia, Mexico and the Miami area, including plans to use a plane to fly more than $4 million in cash from a local airport to Mexico to pay off the narcotics exporters, the complaint says.
Appearing in federal court Wednesday were the narcotics organization’s alleged leader, Adalberto Comparan-Bedolla, the son of a former Mexican mayor who is described as his boss in the complaint, and an associate, Carlos Basauri-Coto, who is described as a money launderer with shoe and investment companies.
Comparan-Bedolla’s lawyer, assistant federal public defender Elizabeth Blair, could not be reached for comment. Basauri-Coto’s attorney, Michael Nadler, declined to comment.
Both men are charged along with Silviano Gonzalez-Aguilar and Salvador Valdez, who also appeared in federal court Wednesday. All four defendants are accused of conspiring to import more than 500 grams of methamphetamine into the United States and related offenses, according to federal prosecutor Frederic Shadley.
In a separate DEA criminal complaint, Comparan-Bedolla’s father, Adalberto Fructuoso Comparan-Rodriguez, and another partner in their alleged meth syndicate, Alfonso Rustrian, were arrested this week in Guatemala for extradition to Miami.
The Miami case, which contrasts with the typical cocaine, heroin and opioid distribution probes in South Florida, reflects a resurgence of meth shipments pouring over the southern border of the United States, authorities say.
The new wave of meth is shifting the focus from opioids to this crystal stimulant — a drug that used to be common, then faded, but is resurging — via illegal imports from meth superlabs in Mexico.