16 Defendants Charged In A Drug Trafficking Operation

May 14, 2013

Attorney General Chris Thyer announces arrests of drug cartel members at a press conference Tuesday.
Credit Maggie Carroll/KUAR

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday  that 16 people have been charged with conspiring to distribute hundreds of kilograms of cocaine throughout Arkansas. 

Idalia Ramos Rangel, better known as “Big Momma” or “La Tia”, is the highest ranking member indicted of leading the drug trafficking organization.

The Gulf Cartel is based out of Matamoros, Mexico but works in several U.S. areas, including inmates who were serving time in the federal prison in Forrest City.  

US Attorney Chris Thyer says Rangel employed her children and other family members to run her operation.

The Department of Justice has been working closely with the FBI to locate and arrest the members.  16 remain at large. FBI Special Agent, Randy Coleman says many of those arrested were picked up this week. 

16 defendants were charged with conspiracy to deal cocaine.  Over half of the drug traffickers involved in the organization are from Arkansas.