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Austin Cocaine Smuggling Ring Busted
Federal authorities say they've dismantled an Austin organized crime ring that distributed cocaine across Texas and other southern states. Authorities call it operation Treasure Lost -- with more busts and arrests possibly in the works.
Federal agents say they conducted several raids Thursday morning that resulted in 19 arrests. They also seized drugs, cash and weapons.
Authorities say Hugo Gaspar's East Austin business -- GR Custom Body and Paint -- served as the primary hub for multiple sources of cocaine smuggling into the U.S. from Mexico.
Police arrested Gaspar along with 18 others. Fifteen, including Gaspar, were in the country illegally, according to federal agents.
"This is a significant step in that it represents the dismantling of a cocaine trafficking organization responsible for the distribution of thousands of kilograms of cocaine," says Robert Pitman, a U.S. attorney for Texas.
Operation Treasure Lost netted more than a $1 million in cash and more than 150 pounds of cocaine.
By Angel Covarrubias