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2004 National HIDTA Program Award

Gulf Coast HIDTA - Caddo/Bossier Drug Task Force

The Caddo/Bossier Drug Task (CBTF) based out of Shreveport, Louisiana consists of personnel from the Shreveport Police Department, the Bossier City Police Department, the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office, the Louisiana State Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The CBTF has two enforcement groups, one of which is dedicated to airport, bus, parcel, and highway interdiction efforts. The CBTF has always had an excellent working relationship with the Louisiana State Police's Criminal Patrol (CP) program based out of Bossier City, Louisiana. The CBTF has assisted the CP interdiction efforts by providing personnel and resources to further investigations that stemmed from drug and/or money seizures made during traffic stops. This assistance has included case adoption for federal prosecution as well as assisting in controlled deliveries of contraband to other destinations outside the state of Louisiana.

The CBTF is being nominated for Outstanding Interdiction Effort for an investigation that began on the morning of September 26, 2003, when the Louisiana State Police (LSP) detained a subject after a traffic stop on Interstate 20 in Bossier Parish Louisiana. The LSP troopers recovered approximately five kilograms of heroin from a false battery in the vehicle. Following an interview conducted by CBTF agents, the subject decided to cooperate and stated that he had been hired by an individual, later identified as Saul BARRERA-CRUZ, to transport the heroin from Nacogdoches, Texas to Elizabeth, New Jersey. With the continued cooperation of the defendant, the CBTF then began driving the defendant and the heroin from Shreveport, LA to Elizabeth, New Jersey. This trip was better than 1500 miles one way. The length of the trip was exacerbated by the time frame that the defendant had been given to arrive. On the first leg of the trip, agents drove sixteen hours non-stop. The first stop was made in Durham, NC. The defendant had been instructed to call a particular number from there. This call was made successfully, and the defendant was instructed to get some sleep and then drive to Newark, NJ on the following day. The defendant was led to believe that he would be met immediately following his arrival. For that reason, agents only allowed themselves about four hours of sleep and then got right back onto the road.

Upon arrival into Newark, NJ, the CBTF agents met with their DEA counterparts from the Newark DEA office and devised a plan to conduct the controlled delivery to the intended recipient. Once plans had been made, the defendant called the intended recipient. The intended recipient was later identified as Manuel LINARES-SANDOVAL. The defendant was told to meet LINARES at a particular motel in Elizabeth, NJ. The defendant and the agents waited for about four hours but LINARES did not show up. At this point the CBTF agents instructed the defendant to call LINARES and to tell him to meet at a different hotel and that this was his last opportunity to obtain the dope. LILINARES showed up late for that deal as well, but he was spotted by the CBTF agents in the restaurant of the hotel. At that point, agents were only guessing that he was the intended recipient. The only Spanish-speaking agent stood beside LINARES while LINARES was talking on his cellular telephone. The conversation overheard by the CBTF agent confirmed the agents' suspicions and surveillance of LINARES then began.

By this point, the assisting Newark DEA agents had left for the night. The commander of the CBTF had agents follow LINARES. CBTF agents followed LINARES from Elizabeth, NJ to Queens, NY. There the agents observed LINARES remove a large red backpack from the vehicle that he was driving. LINARES stashed the vehicle behind a locked gate, and got into a second vehicle driven by an unidentified black male. The CBTF agents then observed LINARES bring the red backpack into a nearby business. The agents noted both the address of the business and the address where the car was stashed. Surveillance was terminated at that point, but the agents passed along what they had learned and observed to DEA New York.

The following day the controlled delivery to LINARES was successfully completed. Agents used a ruse to identify LINARES and did not arrest him. This turned out to be a huge break for DEA New York. They had been investigating LINARES and knew that he was a major heroin dealer, but did not have him identified, nor were they aware of the two addresses that the CBTF agents acquired by following him the preceding night. LINERAS then became a primary target of the New York investigation.

Upon their return to Shreveport, the CBTF agents discovered that BARRERA- CRUZ was the head of a transportation cell of a major heroin and cocaine trafficking organization based out of Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico. The identifications of BARRERA-CRUZ and LINARES as well as the telephone numbers used and called by each expanded the investigation exponentially. Designated as Operation "Jump Start" by DEA's Special Operations Division, this investigation was joined by in excess of twenty domestic DEA offices and five foreign DEA offices.

The CBTF went on to develop a second informant. This led to the seizure of an additional five kilos of heroin. The CBTF also provided invaluable intelligence to DEA NY that helped them obtain the probable cause for a Title III intercept. The CBTF also developed enough probable cause for two Title III intercepts at the Shreveport Resident Office. This was a first for the DEA Shreveport Office as well as for the CBTF. The Shreveport wire tap not only produced additional evidence against BARRERA-CRUZ but also led directly to the arrests of twenty-six illegal aliens and three coyotes by the U.S. Border Patrol.

On April 23, 2004, the CBTF arrested BARRERA-CRUZ and his associates in Nacogdoches, Texas for drug distribution and alien smuggling. BARRERA-CRUZ is currently cooperating with the CBTF and has elicited the help of his brothers in Mexico. The brothers have been offered the responsibility of overseeing loads of heroin and cocaine for a high-ranking member of the Guatemalan organization. The first recorded telephone calls by the brothers to the Guatemalan will be made in early October 2004. The Guatemalan has been identified by the CBTF agents and is indictable already due to his role in the ten kilograms of heroin seized thus far. It is anticipated that the investigation will soon enter into a new phase that will bring the agents additional seizures and indictments against some of the highest members of this international smuggling organization. This outstanding investigation, which began with the follow-up investigation of a traffic stop, continues to broaden in scope.

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Last Updated: February 7, 2005