A little more than a week after an U.S. law enforcement agent was shot to death by gunmen suspected of being Mexican drug traffickers, federal authorities struck back with raids across the nation that rounded up more than 450 people believed to have ties to criminal organizations south of the border, reports the New York Times. There were sweeps in nearly every major American city involving more than 3,000 federal, state, and local law enforcement agents, resulting in the seizure of an estimated 300 kilograms of cocaine, 150,000 pounds of marijuana, and 190 weapons.
Derek Maltz of the Drug Enforcement Administration said the sweeps were part of a multinational investigation that could lead to more arrests and seizures in the U.S., Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil. The operation was staged eight days afterJaime Zapata, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, was gunned down on a Mexican highway. While thousands of Mexican law enforcement agents have been killed in the drug violence that has plagued Mexico since 2007, Zapata was the first American official to be killed in the line of duty there in more than 25 years. Obama administration officials called the attack a “game-changer.”